Beware of jumping worm in your soil

Published: May. 3, 2023 at 3:53 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - If you’re working in your garden and see a worm that jumps around, know that it’s not something you want to see.

Jumping worms were first seen in the U.S. 20 years ago and for the past several years they’ve been spotted in the north country.

Sue Gwise, horticulture educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County, describes the worms as aggressive.

She says they’ll eat organic matter in the soil, which takes away nutrients and puts gardens and forests at risk.

The jumping worm typically thrashes around when you pick it up, hence its name. The key is prevention.

“Be aware of what you’re putting in your garden. If you’re sharing plants with somebody, make sure they don’t have jumping worms. If you have plants of unknown provenance, make sure you take them out of the pots and wash the roots, wash everything off,” said Gwise.

If you want help in identifying something you find, call your local cooperative extension.