It’s no secret that Asian jumping worms, also known as snake worms, have been wreaking havoc on gardens and lawns in certain areas.
They quickly reproduce and can strip the soil of nutrients, so if you want to keep your garden looking its best, it’s important to get rid of these pests quickly.
With a few simple remedies and some strategic thinking, you can effectively eliminate Asian jumping worms.
In this article, we’ll discuss some natural ways to get rid of these pesky critters.
How to Identify Jumping Worms
When you find yourself with an infestation of Asian jumping worms, the first thing you’ll want to do is identify them. To do this, you’ll need to know what they look like.
Jumping worms (Amynthas spp.) are smooth and either have a gray or coppery-brown color. They also have a milky white to gray-colored band (clitellum) around their bodies.
They move quickly in an “S” shape like a snake, which is how they got the name “snake worms”. People also call them crazy worms or Alabama jumpers .
Jumping worms appear to be more active than other earthworms and often squiggle when touched or disturbed. These invasive worms can become a big problem for forest managers, gardeners, and homeowners.
Why are They a Problem?
Crazy worms are becoming a problem in many parts of the United States, so it’s important to understand why they’re an issue. People have reported seeing them in areas like Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Maryland.
Jumping worms feed heavily on soil organic matter, so this can affect its structure and composition . Their castings affect the quality of the soil and its ability to hold water, which can impact farming.
In addition, their constant presence can deprive beneficial earthworms of food sources, which disrupts the soil’s ecosystem.
How to Get Rid of Asian Jumping Worms Naturally
If you find these bad worms in your garden, it’s important to take immediate steps to get rid of them before they spread further. Below are home remedies and natural methods that you can try.
1. Handpick Them From The Soil
Once you’ve identified them, put on some gloves and start handpicking them from the soil. Next, place the worms in a plastic bag and leave it out in the sun.
You can also drop them into a shallow container filled with soapy water. This will kill them.
Although handpicking can be time-consuming, it’s one of the most effective ways to eradicate jumping worms from your landscape—plus, it doesn’t involve any chemicals or pesticides.
2. Mustard Solution
A mustard solution can force the critters to the surface of the soil. Though it will not kill them, it will make it very easy for you to pick them up or expose them to predators.
Making a mustard solution is simple. All you have to do is mix 1/3 cup of dry mustard with 1 gallon of water.
Next, use a squirt bottle to spray the mixture directly onto the surrounding area where the worms might be.
3. Kill Cocoons in the Soil
Another way to prevent an outbreak is to eliminate their cocoons in the soil.
You can do this through soil solarization. This is where you will water the soil area where the worms are likely to be.
Next, cover the surface with a sheet of clear plastic and secure it so it doesn’t blow away. Now leave it in place for about 8 weeks.
The sun will heat up the plastic, and the heat, in turn, will kill the cocoons. By destroying the cocoons, you can help prevent them from becoming adult worms.
4. Properly Clean Tools and Footwear
It’s essential to remember to properly clean and dry garden tools, gloves, and shoes after working in the soil.
Asian jumping worms can lay eggs in your soil, so proper cleaning will help prevent the spread of these pests.
5. Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth has blade-like surfaces that can possibly kill adult jumping worms.
This home remedy works great for dehydrating and killing other worms, so it’s worth giving it a try in this case.
Apply a thin layer on the soil surface when the crazy worms are visible, and see what happens!
Who knew? Vinegar can be your best friend when it comes to killing jumping worms.
Just drop them into a container with vinegar. They will die shortly after.
Rubbing alcohol works in a similar way.
It might surprise you, but another home remedy to get rid of these bad worms from your garden and yard is something that you already have in your home: table salt!
Salt is an effective way to kill off these pests, as it will dehydrate them to death. Plus, it’s super easy to use since all you have to do is sprinkle it on the soil where the worms might be.
It will also kill worm eggs. However, be sure to reapply after heavy rains, as the salt will eventually dissolve over time.
Some birds will eat jumping worms, and they can be a great way to naturally control the population.
To attract them, you can hang bird feeders in your garden or add some birdhouses. You can also leave out some water dishes for them to take a break and drink from.
Taking all of this into consideration, it’s clear that natural methods are sustainable, eco-friendly, and cost-effective ways to manage the presence of Asian jumping worms and their negative impacts on ecosystems.
With enough diligence and perseverance, you can help keep the soil free of these critters.