North Dakota On The Watch For Invasive Jumping Worms
"Jumping worms"- also known as Jersey wrigglers, crazy snake worms, and wood eels.
Whatever you call these intensive invaders, they're very destructive not just to gardens, but to entire forests. Before we dig into why these wigglers are so darn devastating let's meet these slimy soil killers.
Jumping worms have now been found in 34 states and the number is growing.
Here's a super short video on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Facebook Channel
So you'd think if they were such great jumpers they could hop right out of that bowl. So maybe they're more "jumpy" than jumping. I know the thought of a jumping worm could strike fear in the hearts of the seriously worm-adverse. Nope, they don't pose threats to people. They won't leap up and attach to your unmentionables. But they will wiggle like crazy when disturbed.
That's a standard worm pic, you can see from the video their bodies are darker than worms we usually encounter in North Dakota. That band you see on this worm would be a milky-white color on a jumping worm.
Other than being super excitable, jumping worms are kinda like most other worms.
Except, instead of being an asset to your garden soil, jumping worms devour all the ground cover that protects and feeds plants and trees.
Jumping worms are surface-dwellers; they consume leaf litter and organic matter at the soil surface. Once established, populations can build quickly.
They can outcompete and push out the other earthworms and degrade ecosystems, especially forests and woodlands by stripping the soil surface of protective organic matter
Populations grow quickly because like other worms, the jumping worm is a hermaphrodite, so it's both a boy and a girl! But the jumping worm is also parthenogenic meaning it can reproduce by itself. Producing two new generations over the summer. So populations are at their largest in the fall.
So how do we kill these self reproducers? Pretty old school in every article I read.
Currently, there is no pesticide for these jumping worms. Richardson said you could then remove them from your garden, put them in a plastic bag in your trash, or leave them on the pavement when the sun is out.
Hot pavement is the arch-nemesis even for the crazy snake worm! You can also seal them in a bag and toss them in the trash. If you see any of these jumping worms you should probably notify the USDA/North Dakota.