Jumping Worms

Discussion in 'Plant Pests, Diseases and Weeds' started by Cayuga Morning, Feb 18, 2022.

  1. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Strong Ash Plants Contributor

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    Hi all,

    Is any one else having trouble with this scourge? I really hope not but then again misery does love company. I feel like my garden has an STD.
     
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  3. marlingardener

    marlingardener Mighty Oak

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    And here I thought Texas had every scourge available! I've never heard of jumping worms, but must admit that the idea of a jumping worm makes me squirm.
    Can you post a photo, or describe the little critter?
     
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  4. Daniel W

    Daniel W In Flower

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    Jumping Worms

    I was reading about them. It sounds like they've been in some areas of US for decades.

    Maybe what we need is more robins to eat them! And moles (I have an entire mole metropolis in my yard). I bet chickens would like them too. And ducks too. Whenever I find slugs or caterpillars while digging, I take them to the chicken yard. Gulp, they are gone in an instant.
     
  5. marlingardener

    marlingardener Mighty Oak

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    Now I know what jumping worms are, and there are some things you cannot unsee.
    Daniel, our hens love tomato worms. I put the worms in an old coffee can and then empty the can in the chicken yard. Joy all around (except for the worms)!
     
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  6. Jerry Sullivan

    Jerry Sullivan Garden Experimenter Plants Contributor

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    Asian jumping worms? Have jumped from western MA to your neck of the woods..... With 19 miles between us the worms will be here soon. I wonder if Robins like jumping worms? What else eats jumping worms?

    Ah ha!! Moles like jumping worms. We can raise moles!! We can have subterranean mole houses. They can defend our gardens. :eek::eek::eek:

    Jerry
     
  7. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Strong Ash Plants Contributor

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    I've read that birds haven't yet developed a taste for these worms & they don't advise you to feed them to chickens as their bodies are high in heavy metals. Mass Agricultural Ext says there aren't any biological controls as yet. Or pesticides that can control them as yet.

    @Jerry Sullivan I see them on the road after a rain as I go walking in our town. Once you know what they look like, it is true @mart, you can't un-see them. So you haven't discovered them on your property Jerry?

    I'm hoping Mother Nature will deal with them in time.
     
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  8. Jerry Sullivan

    Jerry Sullivan Garden Experimenter Plants Contributor

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    The size would attract my attention so I can give a reserved no as an answer. As I dig in each bed this year I will now be aware. My moles have been kept in check with a diet of Cholecalciferol. Spring will be interesting.

    Jerry
     
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  9. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Strong Ash Plants Contributor

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    @Jerry Sullivan the ones I have are no bigger than regular earthworms. I understand there are 3 species of these jumping worms in the US. Only one is fairly long, the others are the size of regular worms. What stands out about them is their dark color. Mature jumping worms are a dark brown color with a very light, whitish clitellum. And, they jump....wriggle around a lot if disturbed. They only inhabit the top 4 inches of soil, eating everything in their path and leaving the soil with an appearance of coffee grounds. Because they are so close to the surface, they are ready to find.
     
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  10. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Strong Ash Plants Contributor

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    So, an update on the jumping worms saga. I have far fewer of them this year compared to last. Of course it is still relatively early in the season. But I joined a Facebook jumping worm group & others are reporting the same observation. A drier year? (We are officially in drought). The worms need moisture to live.

    Also good news: people are reporting that birds are eating this scourge!! Ha! The outlook just became much better. Maybe moles will get in on the action.

    Last summer, when we returned from vacation, i discovered 3 football sized clumps of dead jumping worms in our pool. Apparently the pumping of the water caused them to collect in clumps. The size of footballs...3 of them. I kid you not. Needless to say I was freaked. A bit.

    Yet, my gardens look great. The woods so far are flourishing. ??? I'm hoping I've just been overreacting.

    I'm still researching what to do about my compost bins... They have been a jumping worm factory.

    @Jerry Sullivan
     
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  11. Beeker

    Beeker In Flower

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    @Cayuga Morning - I've got the jumping worms in my garden, too. I was thinking of solarizing and then repopulating with store-bought earthworms, but since the jumping worms spread so quickly and seem to be able to kill off earthworms, my better-half says we should go the diatomaceous earth route.
    Birds around here are not eating these worms at all. I read that they may try one once or twice but they don't like them.

    I thought it was strange that I wasn't seeing any earthworms come out onto the driveway in the rain. Now I know why.
    I read that earthworms were brought in from Europe and are also considered invasive, but they don't damage crops like the jumping worms do and they only spread about 30 feet per year, while the Asian jumping worms take the nourishment out of the soil, damage the crops, and can spread 17 acres in one season. Very bad.

    What do you think of using diatomaceous earth in the garden soil? Will it harm beneficial organisms that live in the soil (Not including earthworms because they are gone now.)?

    The soil in our yard is poor and we live on a main road and have to deal with street pollution, so I have raised beds that I have to fill with store-bought organic matter and soil. With this jumping worm scourge, I have learned that I have to leave the bags in the sun for a summer first to cook out any of these worms and cocoons before putting them into my garden beds.

    I thought moles were bad for the garden. Is it that they are only bad for lawns? If they are good for the garden, I'll gladly attract, or even import, moles to my gardens!

    Any and all thoughts and ideas are welcome!
    I plan to go buy the diatomaceous earth this evening, so if I shouldn't, please tell me right away!
     
  12. Jerry Sullivan

    Jerry Sullivan Garden Experimenter Plants Contributor

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    As of 7-11-22 no jumping worms have made it to my yard. If they remove nutrients from the soil does grass die?
    Perhaps the reason I have no jumping worms is that I have an army of chipmunks? I understand that they eat jumping worms. :)

    Jerry
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2022
  13. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Can you get the temp up in your compost piles/bins?
     
  14. Daniel W

    Daniel W In Flower

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    Here an article that summarizes some efforts.

    I don't mean to make light of challenges and apologize for making a joke about them. It sounds frustrating and a bit disheartening. Have your crops been affected?

    Really, moles are so destructive to the garden, I wouldn't try to attract them. Even so, they are underground carnivores so I don't mind them.

    Based on the worms bioaccumulating heavy metals, it seems like they could have one benefit if that could be harnessed - capture them and destroy them, and the soil contaminants would decrease.

    If chickens absorb the toxins from the worms, maybe it's best to have hen retirees, who are no longer laying eggs, as the worm scavengers. When our hens stop laying, we just let them hang out and enjoy their retirement and keep the younger ones company. They die of natural causes, then we bury them. Ducks are even better at eating bugs and slugs and worms, but are so messy and dirty, they are not suitable for everyone. Plus I am someone who doesn't like the fishy taste of duck eggs.

    I saw some were using mustard powder. I wonder if nematocidal mustards, grown as a fall cover crop, would reduce populations. Or maybe a thick crop of the nematocidal marigolds.
     
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  15. Melody Mc.

    Melody Mc. In Flower

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    A neighbour bartered with me today for a pile of soil that she purchased. When we were unloading, there was a very wiggly little man. I mean....they wiggle like mad when I put them on my hook, and they wiggle like mad when they are thrust into sunlight....but this jumping worm thing made me pause and think.

    Hubby suggested we cover the whole pile, top and bottom in clear plastic and let it cook for a couple of years. Sounds like that may not be a bad idea.

    @Cayuga Morning ....maybe you're onto something to get rid of them?! As barf gross as that sounded. A friend of mine in the USA flushes his engine out of his jet boat after being in the ocean with water, and all of the night crawlers come to the surface. He collects them for fishing. Maybe you have a possible solution for wormigedon.
     
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  16. Daniel W

    Daniel W In Flower

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    "Wormigedon" :smt005 Next it'll be the wormocalypse LOL
     
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