What's the big deal about invasive Compost Worms, Why its important in Florida to Have a non invasive Compost Worm.
If this can happen in Vermont,What can happen in Florida a,(tropical region).
The ThreatThere are no indigenous earthworms in Vermont. Native earthworms became extinct during the last ice age as mile-high glaciers rested on the New England landscape. Generally, earthworms present in agricultural settings are thought to have a positive effect on soil health. However, in the forested ecosystems that developed in the absence of earthworms since the ice age, earthworms alter soil and ecosystem structure. They remove the top, organic soil layer and thus the seed bank and germination medium for many understory plants. As the understory diversity is decreased, deer will begin to consume tree saplings so that at advanced stages of earthworm invasion, the forest understory is absent or depleted or invaded by invasive plants. And, as a result forest regeneration slows or even ceases. As such earthworms should be placed on a par with other forest pests. The reason why this has not happened yet is because earthworms are regarded as positive contributors to ecosystem processes and damage done may not be attributed to earthworms; earthworms do not directly affect tree species but cause damage to silviculture through influencing ecosystem processes; damage does not leave an immediate impression because changes are subtle in the beginning.
WHY We sell a Florida Red Worm that is native to Florida.
We Sell by size of worm,which are large. On the average is 350 composting worms to a pound. The reason why we don’t ship by thousands or use this term is because it can be confusing. To explain, a thousand grains of sand is one thing, or a pound of sand is a something else.When ordering Composting Red worms buy the thousand ,expect them to be the size or a pin. Selling large Composting worms which are like a chicken ready to lay eggs and stress less. Our Florida CompostingWorm Farm Started in 1965. Any question call 813 770 4794 Starter cup of 30 worms in a cup is $4.00, This a great way for a child to start a worm Farm. 1 Half lb with microbic starter media is $20.00. 1 lb with starter media is $40.00
In Florida Hongkongwillie worm Farm
sells a Native Florida Red Worm to Florida. This Composting worm is is
part of a solution for eliminating part of your waste going to landfills
in Florida. Vermicomposting is the process of using worms and
micro-organisms to turn kitchen waste into a black, earthy-smelling,
nutrient-rich humus. This possess is a inexpensive way to compost and in
return organic matter into rich soil. People in Florida interested in
composting have visited Hongkongwillie composting worm Farm for over 30 years. Hong Kong Willie worm Farm in Tampa started in 1965,from Hongkongwillie living on a landfill as a child in Tampa on Gunn Hwy. This making a large impact on his life. Composting with worms can reduce a large amount of our waste that go to Landfills. . We are a small reuse company , please Google the story of Hongkongwillie.
In Florida conditions are perfect for 99%
of the worms sold from the worm Farms
to upset the delicate balance of our eco system.
BOTH OF THE WORMS BELOW DID NOT COME FROM THE UNITED STATES.
(Eisenia foetida, or"European Night crawlers).
Eisenia foetidaEisenia fetida, known under various common names, including redworms, brandling worms, tiger worms and red wiggler worms, are a species of earthworm adapted to decaying organic material. They thrive in rotting vegetation, compost, and manure; they are epigeal. They are rarely found in soil, instead like Lumbricus rubellus they prefer conditions where other worms cannot survive. They are used for vermicomposting. They are native to Europe, but have been introduced (both intentionally and unintentionally) to every other continent except Antarctica, occasionally threatening native species.
Invasive compost worms
Consider this study from
Minnesota.All of the terrestrial earthworms in Minnesota are non-native, invasive species from Europe and Asia (There is a native aquatic species that woodcock eat). At least fifteen non-native terrestrial species have been introduced so far. Studies conducted by the University of Minnesota and forest managers show that at least seven species are invading our hardwood forests and causing the loss of tree seedlings, wildflowers, and ferns. See "What are the harmful effects of non-native earthworms" below for more information.
Why aren't there native earthworms in Minnesota?We have no evidence that earthworms ever inhabited Minnesota before European settlement. Even if they did, the glaciers killed any native North American earthworms in our region. For the last 11,000 years since the glaciers receded, Minnesota ecosystems developed without earthworms.
There are over 100 species of native North American earthworms in unglaciated areas such as the southeastern U.S. and the Pacific Northwest. However, native species have either been too slow to move northwards on their own or they are not able to survive Minnesota's harsh climate.
How did the 15 earthworm species get here?The first earthworms probably arrived with soils and plants brought from Europe. Ships traveling to North America used rocks and soil as ballast which they dumped on shore as they adjusted the ballast weight of the ship. During the late 1800's and early 1900's many European settlers imported European plants that likely had earthworms or earthworm cocoons (egg cases) in their soils. More recently, the widespread use of earthworms as fishing bait has spread them to more remote areas of the state. All common bait worms are non-native species, including those sold as "night crawlers," "Canadian crawlers," "leaf worms," or "angle worms."
What are the harmful effects of non-native earthworms?Minnesota's hardwood forests developed in the absence of earthworms. Without worms, fallen leaves decompose slowly, creating a spongy layer of organic "duff." This duff layer is the natural growing environment for native woodland wildflowers. It also provides habitat for ground-dwelling animals and helps prevent soil erosion.
Invading earthworms eat the leaves that create the duff layer and are capable of eliminating it completely. Big trees survive, but many young seedlings perish, along with many ferns and wildflowers. Some species return after the initial invasion, but others disappear. In areas heavily infested by earthworms, soil erosion and leaching of nutrients may reduce the productivity of forests and ultimately degrade fish habitat.
Without earthworms a lush forest floor.
After earthworms invade, much of the beauty is gone.
Aren't earthworms good for soil and gardens?It depends. Earthworms create a soil of a certain consistency. For soils that are compacted due to heavy use by agriculture and urbanization, for example, earthworm tunnels can create "macro-pores" to aid the movement of water through the soil. They also help incorporate organic matter into the mineral soil to make more nutrients available to plants. However, in agricultural settings earthworms can also have harmful effects. For instance, their castings (worm excrement) can increase erosion along irrigation ditches. In the urban setting, earthworm burrows can cause lumpy lawns.
Relative to simplified ecosystems such as agricultural and urban/suburban soils, earthworm-free hardwood forests in Minnesota have a naturally loose soil with a thick duff layer. Most of our native hardwood forest tree seedlings, wildflowers, and ferns grow best in these conditions. However, when earthworms invade they actually increase the compaction of hardwood forest soils. Compaction decreases water infiltration. Less infiltration combined with the removal of the duff and fallen tree leaves results in increased surface runoff and erosion.
If non-native earthworms are already here, isn't it already too late?No. Without humans moving them around, earthworms move slowly, less than a half mile over 100 years. If we stop introducing them we can retain earthworm free areas for a long time. Also, there are many other non-native earthworms available for sale that could have even more harmful effects. Even in areas with earthworms already present, we don't want to risk introducing any of these other species.
What about worms in compost piles?Non-native "red wiggler" earthworms are sold and shipped all over the country for home compost piles and vermicomposting (worm composting) operations. Thus far, they are not known to survive Minnesota winters. However, if they or other species are able to survive winter and escape from compost piles they could further harm native forests. If you have a compost pile in a forested area, do not introduce additional non-native earthworms. If you are concerned about spreading non-native worms with your compost, you can kill worms and their eggs by freezing the compost for at least 1 week. See the brochure "Composting with earthworms... the right way" by Great Lakes Worm Watch for more info.
Can earthworms be eliminated from forests?Currently there are no economically feasible methods. Preventing earthworm introductions is the best protection.
What can I do to help?
- Don't dump your worms in the woods. It's illegal to release most exotic species into the wild (Minnesota Statutes 84D.06).
- Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.
- Tell others "the dirt" on invasive earthworms in Minnesota.
Written by Andy Holdsworth, Cindy Hale, and Lee Frelich (University of Minnesota Center for Hardwood Ecology) and reviewed by the Minnesota Interagency Exotic Earthworm Team - March 2003. Updated May 2012.
Here is a Little of History
FOX NEWS FLORIDA
The Story Behind the Eye-Catching Art at I-75 Exit 266 Tampa Florida
The year was 1958. Joe Brown, 8, lived next to a county dump site in Tampa, Fla. Brown found old junk, fixed it up and sold it. Brown knew he had a higher calling in life — he was destined to be an artist.
Hong Kong Willie photomontage
View photographs of the Hong Kong Willie art gallery
Strewn about the lawn is a menagerie of surfboards, car doors, CB radios, wooden sculptures and painted signs. A 1979 Ford pickup sits in the front driveway, painted with a rainbow of colors, four racks of antlers affixed to its roof. An old stuffed caribou sits in a lawn chair beckoning visitors.
Of the thousands of motorists who pass by this eclectic landmark off Exit 266 every day, few stop in the funky gift shop and Key West-themed folk art gallery that is Hong Kong Willie's. But this is not your typical roadside store selling cheesy Florida magnets and beach T-shirts (although they have those, too). From the moment the owners come out to greet you, it's clear that for them this isn't just a business -- it's a lifestyle.
As I step out of my car, Joe Brown ambles toward me wearing a red Hawaiian shirt and khaki shorts. With his disheveled shoulder-length brown hair and strong jaw line, Brown, 56, looks a lot like Mel Gibson in Braveheart. He ends most of his sentences with "Do you follow me?" and stares with wild gray eyes until you nod in agreement. His 46-year-old wife, Kim, who bears a strong resemblance to Grace Slick, sits near the shop's open sign, branding her latest creation. Wearing large sunglasses, she gives a smile, hardly looking up.
Joe and Kim -- Tampa natives -- bought the half-acre property off Fletcher Avenue and Morris Bridge Road in 1985. For the next two decades, the Browns operated A-24 Hour Bait and Tackle, living on the premises and bagging worms for K-Mart and Wal-Mart to make a few extra bucks. But in 2001, they decided to abandon fish food to pursue the fickle business of art, although they will tell you Hong Kong Willie's was always "part of the journey."
"We were artists," says Joe. "We were born that way. We had no choice. You follow me?"
The underlying theme of Hong Kong Willie's is creating art out of objects destined for the landfill, and while browsing the items, I get the feeling the Browns are trying to make a point rather than a sale.
"Thirty percent of the gifts given will be in the dumpster by next Christmas," Joe says. "Most Christmas gifts will be given because they think they have to. Very few will have a social impact."
Every item at Hong Kong Willie's is either art made out of an object destined for the landfill or products that other companies were throwing away and the Browns retrieved before they made it to the dumpster. But don't call this recycled art. The Browns prefer "preservation."
Recycling implies the material will be used for the same purpose. "If you get stuck in that word, then you get stuck in that form," Joe explains. Instead, the Browns create a whole new use for an item that would have been otherwise thrown away.
Kim looks up from her painting after Joe finishes his long ramble. "We've always been able to take nothing and make something out of it," she says.
Although most people assume Joe is "Hong Kong Willie," he says the name refers to the origin of junk: Hong Kong produces much of the useless merchandise that Americans buy and quickly throw away, he says. So it's up to the Willies of the world -- i.e. the Browns and other conservationists -- to find new uses for the trash.
"All of us who believe what we believe is Hong Kong Willie," Joe says.
The gift shop is a space not much bigger than a tool shed, cluttered with handmade candles, pottery, ceramic figures and deer skulls painted tie-dye style. Joe, who's not content to allow me to wander by myself, darts from item to item, sharing each one's origins. One of the first objects he shows me is an old scuba tank cut in half, stenciled with yellow and purple spray paint with a weighted rope attached on the inside. What would have been a heavy addition to a landfill or junkyard, the Browns now sell as a nautical-themed bell. Another popular item: a used Starbucks Frappuccino bottle filled with sand and shells, and the words "Florida Beachfront Property" written in paint on it.
"Is it really pragmatic to say this had one life -- to have Frappuccino in it?" he says, holding up the $3 gift. "That's not true. You follow me?"
Joe picks up a droopy glass vase -- the result of an Arizona Ice Tea bottle stuck in a kiln for too long. He says it's a collector's item: Only 300 were made and none look alike.
"People really want something that is one of a kind and something that means something," he says, holding up the vase and pointing to a stack of Beanie Babies. "Which one is the real collectible? The one that cannot be copied or the one that is mass-produced just on a small scale? You follow me?"
Most of the materials the Browns work with come from Key West. Every few months they hop in the pickup, drive the 425 miles to the Keys and start looking for the junk no one else wants: used dive tanks, the lobster trap buoys, burlap bags and even old wooden planks from ships or homes destroyed by storms.
In fact, the latter is one of their biggest sellers. They bring back an imperfect piece of lumber, slap some urethane on it and Kim paints everything from colorful fish and birds to old Key West landmarks on it. Every piece is branded, marked with a lobster cage tag and affixed with brass rings or forks with which to hang them. In the building opposite the gift shop, among stuffed animals and fish (Joe was once a taxidermist), 30 of these painted planks hang from the walls.
Customers are few at Hong Kong Willie's, but the Browns say they're doing well. They never try to push their art on anyone, figuring that if someone stops and buys something, it was meant to be. ("A piece of art is a love affair," Kim says.) They count Gaspar's Patio Bar and Grille in Temple Terrace as one of their best customers. Their other business comes from Tampa residents looking to add a tiki feel to their backyards. Among Joe's most popular creations are old car doors outfitted with waterproof speakers. A few Key West bars bought the unique sound systems to hang from their ceilings.
But the Browns are not just content to sell their art to passersby -- they want to live the ideals that inspire their art. The couple is working on getting their business off the electrical grid and powered completely by solar energy. Kim wants to start a coffee and ice cream shop with free wireless Internet to bring in likeminded people. Joe wants to be in the Guinness Book of World Records for hanging the greatest number of buoys to a structure (it's not a category yet). And they're always trying to find new uses for the trash they see lining area roads.
"We're not just sitting out here being weird," Joe says suddenly. "We're actually taking objects and making these thousands of people say, 'What's that?' We're doing it because it's the right thing to do."
His eyes get wide.
"You follow me?"