Invasive jumping worms (Amynthas spp.) are spreading all across North America. The worms thrash wildly and move in a snake-like manner; their feeding produces granular castings that look like coffee grounds on the soil surface. The worms can be distinguished from nightcrawlers by their quick violet movements and the white band fully circling their bodies. You might hear them referred to as crazy worms or snake worms as well. Jumping worms leech out all nutrients, provide nothing for soil and plants, and outcompete other worms. They will leave your top layer of soil barren and crumbly which will ultimately leave your plants to die from malnutrition and not being able to root properly.
They originate for Asia and spread from contaminated compost and potted plants. To stop the spread, make your own compost and inspect potted plants before purchasing. Do not use jumping worms for bait or vermicomposting.
To kill any jumping worms that might be present in pre-purchased soil, it is recommended that you place the worms in a plastic bag in direct sunlight until the interior of the bag reaches 105 degrees. You should verify the worms are dead.
If you believe you have found a jumping worm in your garden, report it to 1-866-NOEXOTIC or file a report at EDDMapS.org/indiana and attach a very clear picture.
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