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What to know about invasive jumping worms…

Expert Bradley Herrick describes the recent spread of invasive jumping worms and what you can do to protect our greenspaces.

35 states have reported invasive jumping worm presence. University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum’s Ecologist, Bradley Herrick, has raised awareness about this new soil invader. Herrick answered our questions about why we should focus on invasive jumping worms below. He will further describe this soil invader during our Green Shield Week webinar on Tuesday, April 11th.

When and how were invasive jumping worms introduced in the US?

The three most common species of jumping worms were officially reported in North America in the late 1930’s, along the east coast. It is unknown exactly how they arrived. In the past 10-15 years they have spread rapidly. Why it took them so long to become widespread is unknown.

Are there any signs of an invasive jumping worm infestation?

Jumping worms produce a distinctive soil signature. Through their feeding activities, they turn topsoil into a loose, porous “coffee ground-like” structure. Also, if you see an earthworm with a milky-white band near its head, that is a tell-tale sign.

What should I do if I think I have a jumping worm infestation?

Confirm with an expert. Do your best to contain it. Clean your shoes and tools before moving to new areas to make sure you do not inadvertently spread worms or their cocoons to other areas of your yard. Learn the latest control options and best management practices for getting rid of the worms and/or minimizing their spread. Your first opportunity is my GSC Week webinar titled “Invasive Jumping Worms: Impact and Control of a New Soil Invader”!

Any preventative measures I can take to control jumping worms?

Educate yourself on jumping worms signs, how they spread and options you have to control them. Follow best management practices to minimize the risk of introducing jumping worms before you bring new plants, soil, compost, mulch or other such products onto your property.

Make sure to learn more about invasive jumping worms by registering for Herrick’s GSC Week webinar at

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