Night crawlers and worms in yard

Asked June 11, 2019, 12:13 AM EDT

I have night crawlers and worms in my yard and I can't take my dog out at night because of these critters and my dog wants to grab them. How can I get rid of these night crawlers? They are all different sizes and ugly and I don't want my dog to grab them and make him sick. Please help me with this problem.

Ocean County New Jersey

1 Response

Soil based worms are normally a sign of a healthy soil environment. An agent from Montana has the following suggestions:

You have probably heard this before, but the earthworms are indicators of healthy environments and help break down organic matter and aerate the soil. They also add nutrients to the soil. I am assuming that you have a "bumpy" lawn? If so, there are a few things you can do to mitigate the bumpiness.

1) Core Aerate the lawn. This may help level the lawn. It should be done only in the spring and in the fall.

2) Use a heavy roller to "flatten" the lawn. this may need to be done when the soil is saturated to be effective, especially if the soil is high in clay. However, this could lead to soil compaction.

3) Top Dress. You can use up to 1" of compost over the lawn and rake so that the lawn is even. the grass will grow through the compost in the low areas, leaving a more level lawn

4) Reduce irrigation frequency. Earthworms thrive in moist soil. If the soil is left to dry out on the upper 2" of soil, the earthworms will burrow deeper into the soil, causing less bumps.

Earthworms are attracted to lawns that are sometimes over-irrigated. be sure that you are putting on the right level of irrigation for your soil texture. For this, I would contact your local county or reservation extension agent for recommendations, or you can contact me direct.

As far as pesticides, we cannot recommend pesticides for earthworm control and lawn care companies may not apply pesticides for the purpose of controlling earthworms.

Cheers, Toby

Toby Day

Extension Horticulture Associate Specialist
Montana State University