Beware of the Invasive Jumping Worms in Minnesota
Did you know that there's a type of worm in Minnesota that's called a jumping worm? It sounds like a really unpleasant creature but they aren't a danger to us. But they are a danger to our yards and plants.
Before we get into why these guys are bad news, let's talk about why they're called jumping worms. They don't literally jump, so they won't jump up and attack you. They're called that because, as WCCO describes it, "they forcefully thrash about like a snake when disturbed, almost as if they were jumping." So if you touch one, you'll most likely know right away. That's almost the only way you can tell them apart from regular worms because they look the same.
The reason why jumping worms are bad is that they grind up the dirt so much that it's described as being like coffee grounds. Because the dirt is so fine, it can easily cause erosion. This can also lead to putting your garden in danger.
Help Stop the Spread of Jumping Worms in Minnesota
Jumping worms have been found in southeast Minnesota, the Twin Cities, and up to St. Cloud, but we're asked to do our part to prevent the spread of this invasive species. There are a couple of things you can do.
First, if you're buying plants, you should inspect the dirt for jumping worms. A professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth, Ryan Hueffmeier, says to also put plants into a different container for about a week before planting. "This way, gardeners can inspect the soil after a few days to see if it’s become a fine, coffee ground-like texture." The second thing you can do is if you fish, when you purchase bait you may be given jumping worms. If that's the case, throw out the rest of the bait that you don't use.
Jumping worms can actually clone themselves, so it only takes one for them to become an issue in a new area, so be careful this summer!