Asian jumping worm
Hi, Gretchen! I love reading your wry, helpful column each week! Also enjoy when you speak at Brighton Garden Club meetings! In your column would you please address Asian jumping worm? One of our members has it in her soil and told us it has no cure, is catching and can be passed with plant exchanges, even buying from a nursery.
Livingston County Michigan
Unfortunately for Ask an Expert, Gretchen has retired from “AaE”. I suggest you write to her at the newspaper.
We can answer your question, though!
Asian Jumping Worm, Amynthas agrestis, is found in the Midwest and a number of universities are researching it, including Oakland University here in Michigan.
You are correct that they can be transported by way of soil, potted plants, and mulch. They over-winter in small cocoons and hatch the following spring. Sometimes they “swarm”, appearing in large groups, and end up destroying plants in that part of the soil. Research has indicated that heat-treating mulch and soil can destroy them. If you think you have them, be careful not to move soil, mulch or plants with soil on their roots.
Continue to watch university publications for the latest research. You may also report your siting on the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network web site—-
Here are links to resources with pictures that help you identify these worms. Cornell has suggestions on how to minimize their spread—-
Thank you for using Ask an Expert.