Jumping Worms Are In Michigan: What Kind Of Damage Can They Do?
The first thing that comes to most people's minds when you think of worms is using them for fishing.
Or you might think of the saying "the early bird gets the worm."
But what comes to your mind when you hear Jumping Worms?
WHAT ARE JUMPING WORMS?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that Jumping Worms are invasive worms. Mac Callaham who is a Forest Service researcher that specializes in soils says they got their name because of the way they thrash around and flip themselves a foot off the ground.”
WHY ARE JUMPING WORMS A THREAT?
A jumping worm isn't going to track you down and kill you but it can wreak havoc on its ecosystem. Because the jumping worms thrash around so much, they are known to be voracious eaters. Jumping worms live in the top layer of soil, eating leaf litter and absorbing the nutrients on which other plants and insects rely. Jumping worms leave behind a waste that doesn’t retain water and makes the soil more likely to be washed away. The soil disruption also provides more opportunities for invasive plants to move into an ecosystem.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EARTHWORMS AND JUMPING WORMS
The key difference between the two is color and texture. Both earthworms and jumping worms have a band called a clitellum. On an earthworm, the clitellum sticks out more, is a reddish-brown color, and is closer to the middle of the body. In jumping worms, the clitellum is a milky white color that is flush with its skin and closer to its head. Adult jumping worms also have an iridescent sheen and are drier to the touch.
HOW DO JUMPING WORMS SPREAD TO DIFFERENT PLACES?
According to The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Jumping worms are largely spread by humans, occasionally hitching a ride on shoes or equipment. They can also be found in bagged soil or mulch. They also recommend that any mulch you buy has been heat treated for at least three days to kill off any worms or eggs.
JUMPING WORM NICKNAMES
They all are called crazy worms, snake worms, wood eel, Jersey wigglers, or Georgia jumpers.
HOW TO GET RID OF JUMPING WORMS
A popular and effective method to get rid of Jumping Worms is called a mustard pour.
To do this you don't use a bottle of mustard. Instead, you mix one-third of a cup of ground mustard seed with a gallon of water. Focus your pour on a few square feet at a time. Pour half the liquid into the ground, wait a few minutes and then pour the rest. The mustard pour will not hurt your plants or the worms, but it will force the worms to the surface. Collect the jumping worms in a plastic bag, leave that bag in the sun for at least 10 minutes, then throw it away.
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