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If you spot a worm with a white band around it, get rid of it
Don't let this invasive species linger in your garden. All it takes are two household ingredients to drive them out of the soil.
Cherie Gozon
07.14.21

Our ecosystem relies on each other.

Pexels|Maria Orlova
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Pexels|Maria Orlova

Every plant and animal has a role to play in balancing out nature. We depend on each other to survive. Each has a role to play in maintaining the cycle in the system.

Let’s take earthworms, for example.

Pexels|Sippakorn Yamkasikorn
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Pexels|Sippakorn Yamkasikorn

They feed on plant debris to improve nutrient availability in the soil. Their movement underground also helps in proper soil drainage and construction. While they feed on plant debris, they also serve as food to birds. Birds, who feed on them, are known pollinators of plants. It’s all a beautiful cycle like that.

But not all worms are good for the soil. We’re talking about the Jumping Worm.

YouTube Screenshot|Inside Edition
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YouTube Screenshot|Inside Edition

Recently, there’s this widespread of this specific worm species all over North America. They’re highly invasive, and their existence can be harmful to your garden soil or even in the forests.

What makes the Jumping Worm so harmful that it would make you get rid of it?

YouTube Screenshot|Inside Edition
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YouTube Screenshot|Inside Edition

According to Brad Herrick, an ecologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum, this species has no specific predator. And since they multiply so fast, they will eventually just multiply out of proportion and continue to damage the soil.

They can damage the soil when they overeat.

YouTube Screenshot|Inside Edition
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YouTube Screenshot|Inside Edition

They feed on fallen leaves, plant roots, and other plant debris. If they keep on feeding, their castings (feces) will create a loose layer of soil and become aerated. Worse, they don’t absorb and retain water, making an unhealthy ground where plants can no longer thrive.

But did you know that it’s easy to drive them out of your garden soil?

It only needs two household items: water and mustard.

Flickr|Marco Verch
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Flickr|Marco Verch

According to Brad, you just need to add 1/3 cup of ground yellow mustard seed to a gallon of water. Shake it up and pour it over the area where you noticed the Jumping Worm. In just a few seconds, the worms will crawl out of the soil.

Jumping Worms hate the feel of mustard on them.

YouTube Screenshot|Inside Edition
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YouTube Screenshot|Inside Edition

They’ll instantly wriggle out of the soil to save them from the nasty feel of the mustard. Once they’re out, you can scoop them out and place them in a jar or throw them away. It’s also important that you report any observation and presence to your local cooperative extension.

He also advised to clean your gardening or work boots before heading home.

Pexels|Marta Wave
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Pexels|Marta Wave

If you’re working with landscaping and logging companies, you can request a separate work boots. Alternatively, you should brush off your shoes before leaving the site and heading home. This is to ensure that you don’t bring the worm’s eggs with you at home.

They also advise not to use these worms as fishing bait.

Pixabay|socialneuron
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Pixabay|socialneuron

These pesky creatures will easily wriggle out of your grip when you try to hook them. They’ll jump to set themselves loose and will go back to the ground.

If you want to learn more about managing Jumping Worms, you can download and read their guide or report Jumping Worm sightings here.

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By Cherie Gozon
hi@sbly.com
Cherie Gozon is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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