Update on jumping worms; please send reports

earthworm compared to jumping worm
Jumping worms like the one at right can harm the soil and plants in your garden. They’ve been identified in Erie County– we need to stop their spread. Jumping worms are pretty easy to distinguish from common earthworms, on left. Photo on left courtesy Joseph Berger, Bugwood.org and photo on right courtesy Susan Day / UW–Madison Arboretum

Two recent articles from WNY Gardening Matters give updates on jumping worms, an invasive species that leaches nutrients from soil, making it difficult for most plants to grow. Jumping worms have been found in Western New York.

NY iMapInvasives is trying to track where jumping worms are and where they haven’t gotten to yet. Please look in your yard and let NY iMapInvasives know whether or not you see this invasive pest.

WNY Gardening Matters

The first article says that currently there is no approved preventive treatment for jumping worms, though some research is being done on this. The article also explains how to dispose of soil if you have jumping worms.

The second article explains the many ways that jumping worms damage our ecosystem.

You can see more articles on various topics in WNY Gardening Matters.

Identifying and reporting jumping worms

Check to see whether or not you have jumping worms and report your findings to NY iMapInvasives.

Here’s how to tell a jumping worm from common worms.

You can check your yard for these worms by using a mustard mixture that won’t harm your plants, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Mix a gallon of water with 1/3 cup of ground yellow mustard seed and pour slowly into the soil. This will drive any worms to the surface.

If you have a small population of invasive jumping worms, you can bag them and throw them in the trash. Or you can place them in a black plastic bag and leave the bag out in the sun for at least 10 minutes, then throw the bag away.

Take extra care to not spread these worms to new areas of your yard. Work in infested areas last, and always clean your tools and shoes afterwards.  

More information can be found in the Homeowner’s Guide to Jumping Worms from Cornell University.

2 Comments on “Update on jumping worms; please send reports

  1. Hi Lyn, thanks for making it clear that you should make sure jumping worms are dead before you dispose of them.

  2. When you find a jumping worm you can drop it in alcohol & water. Around 1/4 alcohol. This will kill them. Never discard live worms even in a plastic bag.

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