Invasive Jumping Worms! Fragrance – Pumpkin butter cookie
These horrid, bad movie monster, little, critters get their name because when they are handled they thrash, spring into the air and even shed their tails to escape. Other names include Alabama jumpers, Crazy worms, Snake worms and Asian jumping worms.
Jumping worms live close to the top of the soil. Their bodies are smooth and have a “clitellum”, a lighter colored band which is cloudy-white to gray and completely encircles the body. They are not covered in slime and move like a snake. They congregate in large numbers. Unlike our native earthworm, these jumpers do not need a mate! They are parthenogenic which means that they self-fertilize.
Jumping worms feed on everything – plants nutrients, animals, fungi and bacteria and poop out a grainy-looking hard granule that destroys the composition of the soil. The soil structure is so poor after their ravenous chomping, that the plants understory has no means of support and dies.
Be careful when coming back from a hike. Clean off your boots before coming to your property. Buy or trade landscape and gardening materials that appear to be free of jumping worms and their cocoons.