Jumping Worms in the Garden? Here’s What You Must Do.

Jumping worms have been spotted recently in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and southern Ontario. Gardeners in these places are having challenges as a result of the invasive worms’ significant spread in horticulture. Because jumping worms modify the soil, they pose a significant threat to forest ecosystems. They consume organic matter quickly, and their castings, or excrement, alter the structure of the soil, making it less able to hold moisture.

Jumping worms also modify the microbial and fungal communities in the soil by increasing the nitrogen level. Variations in the fungus and bacteria that inhabit the soil may influence the types of plants that may grow and spread, potentially having a cascade effect on wildlife. Jumping worms should be kept out of woodland habitats.

Jumping Worms In The Garden? Here's What You Must Do

How to recognize a jumping worm. Jumping worms are most visible between August and September when adults are at their greatest. They usually collect in large numbers in the topsoil, which is where you can find them. These worms are noted for their frantic thrashing behavior, which occurs when they are frightened and become extremely active.

Jumping worms have smooth, shiny skin, whereas European earthworm species feel sticky or squishy to the touch. Furthermore, unlike other earthworm species, they have a unique clitellum, or collar-like band, around their body that is closer to their head and white or gray. What to do in your yard if you find jumping worms. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to eliminate jumping worms when they appear in your yard.

Nonetheless, a few physical management measures, such as hand-removing the worms or heating the soil by encasing it in plastic sheets, may help to reduce the number. If you know you have jumping worms in your garden, don’t share plants or soil with other gardeners. This can spread them to other locations, increasing the risk of infection for neighboring natural ecosystems and gardeners.

When a jumping worm is discovered, it should be killed and disposed of. Isopropyl alcohol is the most effective technique to put an adult jumping worm to sleep. Heat is another effective approach that affects both adults and cocoons. Adult worms should be packed in a clear plastic bag and placed in direct sunlight for a few days. If you detect jumping worms in soil or other horticultural material, store it in a sealed plastic bag and expose it to the sun for a few days to kill any worms or cocoons.

After that, the bag can be discarded in the trash. To learn more, check out Ontario Master Gardeners’ helpful Gardeners Guide. The small cocoons of jumping worms are difficult to distinguish from soil. This makes them vulnerable to inadvertent transfer via footwear or outdoor gear. Jumping worms can be avoided from spreading by thoroughly cleaning your equipment before and after moving to a new site, such as during a hike. If you are aware that you have jumping worms in your garden, this is really important.

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