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Rainman

Keeping crawlers alive?

28 posts in this topic

How do you keep crawlers alive for a long time? I get about 1200-1500 Crawlers in the spring but have a hard time keeping them throughout the summer. By the end of June they are pretty much Dead. Is there a trick to this?

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get and old 25 or 30 gal barrel, cut the top off, and bury so that about 4 to 6 inches is still out of the ground, then fill with wet leaves/ leaf compost. You have to dig through the barrel to get them out but it keeps them alive. There are probably better ways but this is what my dad did years ago.

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I keep my crawlers in ice cream pails. I put the crawler bedding in the pail and then ad 8 dozen crawlers. I put the pails in a fridge and then turn the pails upside down every three days. I keep them for a long time this way.

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just out of curiosity... why do you turn the pail upside down every three days?

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Throw them in the fridge they will last a long long time!

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I agree with the compost for crawlers. I had 12 dozen that I put into some compost and after a couple weeks, the crawlers were the healthiest you'd ever see. The compost was almost to the consistency of black dirt. If you have a local compost pile, a few 5 gallon buckets, you'll be good to go.

Keep in mind when traveling across the border, you'll have to leave the dirt behind.

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I do keep them in the fridge. Maybe I over crowd them or get them to cold. Maybe both. Was thinking about burying a tote in the ground and trying peat ground.

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Copost and coffee grounds works for me. I have used the commercial bedding with good results always store in the fridge coffee cans hold quite a few dozen this seems to do the trick for me. Now only if these temps straighten out and they start coming up I'll be a happy plucker. On a side note it is illeagal to collect crawlers on public golf courses? Thanks

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I use worm bedding and coffee grounds. Works great and keep 'em cool.

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Where in the heck do you get 1200-1500 crawlers?!

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There are a few tricks to this. First off never have too many in a container. Secondly, keep them cool. Either in fridge or cool damp room with no sunlight. We used to keep at least this many in old cow stock tanks. Good peet dirt worked great for this, but worm bedding is also good. We would feed them corn meal once a week and keep soil loose by tipping tank on its side every few days. Hope this helps.

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On a side note it is illeagal to collect crawlers on public golf courses? Thanks

Golf Courses are private property. I would check with the GM at the course to see if it would be ok for you to go pickin'. They may or may not want any and all crawlers removed. I live on a course but have never noticed much for lumps/mounds from crawlers.

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I am going to try Gulp this year to see if I can avoid keeping the real ones alive.

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Where in the heck do you get 1200-1500 crawlers?!

In my yard!

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I can pick up that many in the street in front of my house after a 1 inch rain.

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Much to my wifes chagrin, I have had over a doz, Canadian crawlers in my frig, since the last time I hit the shore last fall! They are all looking good still. Had planed on using them by now but can't seem to find a open spot in the ice to cast them out on a hook yet. All I did all winter is put a pinch of flower and a few drops of water in them once in a while and their all still kicken! But I do like the barrel in the ground Idea for lots of them during the summer!

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Lep, I work on a golf course and would never let people out there pickin crawlers. Just too many ways they can screw up the turf if they get on the greens. Besides, ya let one, a 100 are gonna be right behind him. There are some mornings when a guy can take a dust pan and pick up 100's of em in just a few minutes and from the bunkers. But, to let folks out there is just asking for trouble. If ya really wanna ask someone about it, by all means, DON"T talk to the GM, go to the grounds super. Most GM's don't know the diff between a golf ball and the Gulf of Mexico.

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Sorry Paul, by GM I meant "Grounds Manager" not General Manager. I have a hard time respecting our local Gen Manager as he seems to think it's ok for his customers to water the bushes in my backyard. But that's another topic.

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I keep mine in garage "bait fridge" not cold enough for adult beverages. about 41 deg I keep it. I try to turn them over and pick out the dead ones every couple days. can't wait for that first warm rain!!!

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On a side note it is illeagal to collect crawlers on public golf courses? Thanks

Looks like a golf course might be out, you might want to try a high school football field. The one in the town near me has lots of them.

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you can by them in flats. I think 500 come in one. not sure how much they are.

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I have used foam coolers with commercial bedding and kept crawlers from April through September. This was a flat (500)of crawlers, and I bought worm food (available most places where bedding is sold). At first, I thought the food was gimmicky, but I will say the worms beefed up after using it as directed. Keep the soil moist and keep the cooler in a dark corner of your garage or basement if either stays cool enough, or a fridge if you can. CHANGE SOIL MONTHLY! This is a critical step that if skipped will kill worms fast. The other advice I can give is to "rotate" your worms weekly--reach down and pull up the gob of them, sift out the sickly and skinny ones and toss them, and work your soil loose again if it gets clumpy. Most critical? Do not over populate your soil...if worms start dying quickly, you have too many worms for the amount of soil.

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My dad used to keep a flat all season, and oftentimes end up throwing them out in the winter. We made moist bedding, and kept it moist by adding water as it dries out over the summer. I think he put worm food in there periodically. He kept them in a bait fridge he kept at work. Once a week, he'd go through the lot and pull out the dying worms (only a few each time). Typically, they are shriveled up and the bedding clumps on them and they climb to the top. He always said that the dead ones can kill the lot and they need to be pulled out. I thought he was nuts, but he kept healthy worms all season. He had them in a styrofoam box that I remember being about 18"x18" x4" high.

Another trick I use is before I go out, I take a margarine container and put some ice-cubes in it and put a dozen or so crawlers in it. This causes the worms to plump up and firm up. It seems to do a neat "beef up" of the sometimes shriveled up worms.

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So lets say I have a huge leafy compost pile in the back yard. I am talking 8' x 8' x about 2'-6" deep after sitting all winter, in the fall it is nearly 6' high. If I take a big flat of crawlers and throw them in there will they turn that compost into soil? Will they survive in the compost pile? I have been thinking about this for a while as I fill that freakin bin up each year with the leaves in my yard. It is crazy cause my yard is 75x150 and each fall I get 55-60 bags of leaves. Crawlers in the compost pile would help out if it would work, and I would constantly have bait at the ready.

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Originally Posted By: CarpKing921
On a side note it is illeagal to collect crawlers on public golf courses? Thanks

Looks like a golf course might be out, you might want to try a high school football field. The one in the town near me has lots of them.

try a cemetery, no one there complains. grin

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