Monday, October 11, 2021

Report Invasive Jumping Worms

wormsAttention, fall gardeners! While earthworms are usually a welcome sight in your garden, not all earthworms are alike. Jumping worms, sometimes known as “crazy worms,” are an invasive species native to Asia that are being found increasingly in many parts of New York State.

Jumping worms primarily stay in the top layer of soil, leaching nutrients and turning topsoil into a texture similar to coffee grounds. This makes it difficult for many plants to grow, including garden plants, trees, and lawns. You can tell the difference between a jumping worm and a less destructive European earthworm by examining the worm’s collar (clitellum). Jumping worms have a collar that is milky-white, relatively close to the head and flush with their bodies.

Here’s how you can help prevent the spread of jumping worms:

  1. Know the signs: Look for dark soil that looks like coffee grounds. Jumping worms have a milky-white smooth collar, close to their heads.
  2. Play. Clean. Go: Check your soil, compost, tools, boots, and plant roots. Clean everything of worms and egg casings before transporting.
  3. Be worm-wise: When purchasing soil, compost, plants (even trees) or worms for bait, check for jumping worms or egg casings to prevent jumping worms from invading your yard.
  4. Report: If you find one, take a picture and report the sighting to

Check out the Homeowner’s Guide for Asian Jumping Worms from the NY Invasive Species Research Institute for more information.

Need help identifying a worm, insect, or plant disease? Email a photo and description to DEC at

Photo by Heather Dockstader via iMapInvasives

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Information attributed to NYSDEC is taken from press releases and news announcements from New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation.

5 Responses

  1. Boreas says:

    Aren’t typical earthworms a non-native species as well? If we can assume these Asian worms will be mixed with “nightcrawlers’ eventually, perhaps we should reconsider selling worms at nearly every gas station. The lack of discarded styrofoam containers on the shore would be another plus.

  2. Todd Eastman says:

    Kick up some leaves near your house if you live in, or near, the the forest…

    … these bastards are thick in SoVT… yuck!

  3. Boreas says:

    Can they be used on Asian jumping carp??

  4. nathan says:

    report for what? We are stuck with them, we have yet to remove a single invasive species!!!! we need to stop importing plants! its a non-stop invasion and creeping spread.

  5. nathan says:

    lantern moths invade ADK

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