STORY FROM KCCI.COM
AMES, Iowa —
Jumping worms are taking over. They have now been found in 12 Iowa counties, including Polk County.
Jumping worms are a type of earthworm. They are called “jumping worms” because of the violent wiggling and snake-like movements they make when uncovered.
“The nightcrawlers and garden worms we think are beneficial in our soil, get elbowed out of the way by the jumping worms,” said Donald Lewis, Iowa State University entomology professor.
Jumping worms are originally from Asia. They reproduce faster and eat more material than garden worms.
Jumping worms leave the soil the consistency of coffee grounds — a granular soil that is not conducive to plant growth.
Right now, they are not easy to spot.
“In the springtime and early summer the jumping worm is in a cocoon stage, also called the egg stage,” Lewis said.
They are easily transported.
“Those tiny little two-millimeter eggs could stick to the bottom of your shoes,” Lewis said.
In the fall, when the eggs have hatched and the jumping worms have grown, they will not be hard to spot.
Lewis said that right now, there is no pesticide that deals with jumping worms. He says the best way to handle jumping worms is to separate them from your mulch, your flowers and your garden.