Crazy Worms Addendum

Cornell Cooperative Extension just came out with a helpful bulletin about Asian jumping works, aka crazy worms. It includes images showing how to tell apart invasive European worms and the more damaging crazy worms, and advice on how to prevent their spread. Limited research on potential predators to hope control this pest shows that Eastern red centipedes and other arthropods may be the best bet.

And here’s a time-lapse video that shows what the worms, Latin name Amynthas agrestis, do to organic matter—gobble it up and leave behind a small volume of overly aggregated castings that dry out quickly. It’s not good.

See prior post for more info, and thanks to horticulturist Laura Wyeth for this additional info.

Urban Forest Ecology: Voracious, Parthenogenic Asian Jumping Worms

Asian jumping worms have a characteristic white band and are extra squirmy.

Council Member John T. wrote to me after last summer’s ReLeaf Conference. He was surprised that in the conversations he had with other ReLeaf folks, there was little to no awareness of the Asian jumping worm (Amynthas agrestis) and how damaging it is to forests, including, one could assume, the urban forest.

Last summer, for the first time, I noticed that my compost-enriched vegetable garden soil seemed excessively granulated, and the soil was subsiding and drying out faster than usual. Turns out, the granulation was the worm castings of the voracious eater, Amynthas agrestis. I’ve since seen the big worms, and now I shudder when they appear. Read on to see why it’s now my mission to rid my garden of these worms, and why the Asian jumping worm is a concern for foresters throughout much of the country. 

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