More Pest Found In MA-jumping worms

Jumping worms spotted in Mass. again. Should you be worried about your garden?.

They “alter soil qualities making soil inhospitable to some plants and animals”. It is recommended that gardeners get rids of jumping worms when we come across them.


I had never seen them before this year but they have taken over the compost pile along with much of the yard and planting beds. I’d assume eggs must have arrived in potting soil or mulch.

I have not seen them. I won’t hesitate to kill them if I see them. They can become my compost.

Hmmmm. These have been around for some time. See them in community gardens, on public library property, and others in Madison Co. Kentucky and Laurel Co also.

Probably from nursery stock or from landscape products. Then, those that share ‘free’ plants in the community share the critters.

Also, soil is not sterilized at Big Box stores anymore. (Has to do government but I’ve not studied all the details).

You might prevent spread, but you cannot eradicate them.

It seems like every year a new invasive species enters our environment as more and more goods are shipped between countries and human beings become more mobile. I don’t see how these worms are going to be stopped unless there is a predator where they come from with a huge appetite for them that can be safely imported and established here.

I recently lost a sale of trees from my nursery by a customer who thought my county was more likely to have these worms than theirs. I found their extreme caution amusing because I have bare root trees of size available that can be hosed down before moving. At any rate, I’m sure most home gardeners can keep up the level of organic matter at a pace that will outdo these worms. It is in commercial agriculture where this could be a real problem and perhaps in our forests.

I’ve seen those worms here. They sit under my potted plants in summer. I first noticed them this summer after someone here posted about them. I think they die over winter but the eggs survive.

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That’s exactly what the article said. In cold weather, the worms die but the eggs are in protected in cocoons and survive. Too bad.

There are reports of them all around us. I haven’t seen any yet, and my wife hasn’t made a positive identification. She saw some worms with pale bands, but not white bands. A popular and respected compost service that we have used has been reported (but not confirmed) to have been one source for their quick and recent spread around here.

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This all suggests that killing them is futile. Perhaps we need to adopt them as a protein source.

In my state of WI we have a huge area around the west side of city of Madison with them.
I hard they cannot be eradicated. Lots of my landscape clients in that area inform me they really destroy the soil. Many who work in that area in the green industry tell me they now have to keep a sprayer full of some type of chemical control to spray down all tools before leaving jobsites to prevent the spread. Many have to step their boots into some tray of chemical wash to decontaminate their footwear before leaving to go to another job site.

Very happy it is not in my yard (yet). Sounds like a real issue.

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And served with a garlic mustard relish?


I’m guessing this would only be a problem for shallow rooted plants. They consume organic matter and then produce their castings so I don’t think nutrients change only upper soil structure changes.

Many of us grow veggies, too. I take this issue seriously.

I’ve got them here, and I can attest that they are a major issue. All their castings end up on the surface of the soil and are easily washed away. This leads to nutrient depletion and reduction of soil organic matter. They also eat through mulch like crazy. Any organic mulch has a much shorter lifespan in the landscape, leaving more opportunities for weeds. And, their activities create favorable conditions for some of the more pernicious invasive weeds like Japanese knotweed and garlic mustard to seed in. In forests, it basically leads to the reduction or elimination of the leaf litter and O horizon. Some plants can deal with this, many can’t. Sugar maple and ginseng are some notable examples of plants you might care about that have trouble with these changes.


Sounds like to me…

I’ll have to see if they swim well.

Pulling out roots and banging them on the side of the raised planter caused them to escape to the top apparently bothered by the vibrations.

Can you take some pics?

It looks like rain all day tomorrow. If I can’t get their attention in the garden bed, I should be able to turn the compost pile to find some on Saturday.

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Is there any evidence that killing them when you identify them has any measurable benefit? They look robustly fecund to me, errr… really quick to reproduce. In my experience, expert opinion is not always practical and it’s generally a good idea to look at the evidence on which expert advice is supposed to be based. Logical leaps are creative fun but not entirely reliable when put to test in the real world. .


From what I’ve read, if you’re lucky enough to spot an infestation when it’s limited to a small area, you MIGHT be able to nip it in the bud. But once it’s covered a large enough area (such as everywhere within at least 1/2 mile in my case) there’s not much you can do, and there are no treaments that are specific to jumping worms.