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The following FAQ was developed from discussion at UMass Extension's January 2022 Jumping Worm Conference. Questions have been edited for clarity.
Is the clitellum (band of contrasting color close to the head) on a jumping worm raised or swollen?
How much magnification is needed to identify the bristles (“setae”) on segments of a jumping worm’s body?
How deep in the ground do jumping worms live?
Are jumping worms seen during the day when gardeners are out planting and weeding rather than 'regular' worms which might be seen at night?
Can adult jumping worms survive the winter in warmer climates (like North or South Carolina)?
Might new worms be seen hatching in late summer and early fall and how long will the worms survive?
Can the different species of jumping worm interbreed? Are there hybrids?
Do jumping worms reproduce differently than other earthworms?
What is the purpose of the clitellum, the light-colored ring around the jumping worm’s body?
What is the longevity of jumping worm cocoons? Will they survive for multiple years?
Will jumping worm cocoons still survive if they are placed in a trash bag and thrown away?
Do jumping worms shed the end of their tail when threatened?
At what temperature will mature jumping worms and cocoons die?
If jumping worms don’t survive freezing temperatures, why doesn't cold weather kill their eggs?
How cold does it need to be to freeze/kill the cocoons, so they don't hatch in the spring?
Can established jumping worm populations move uphill significantly? Or is most of their natural spread facilitated by gravity/water?
How might jumping worms respond to fire, especially since fires are usually suppressed on local preserves?
What are castings?
Are the castings of jumping worms nutrient rich like the castings of night crawlers and red wigglers?
What is the impact of jumping worms on leaching in soil?
Are mycorrhizal fungi affected by jumping worms and have there been any studies on earthworm impact on mycorrhizal fungi in forests?
In areas where crumbly soil and few leaves are found, have jumping worms already moved out?
Are jumping worms less likely in a raised bed since they are surface feeders?
Can infested garden soil be used next year?
Is adding compost to jumping worm infested soil of any value?
Are there noticeable differences in an ecosystem with jumping worms compared to those without (e.g., reduced litter, reduced understory diversity)?
Are jumping worms killing forests?
How long does it take a forest floor to rehabilitate itself after a jumping worm disturbance?
Is it true that jumping worms don't preferentially eat oak leaves?
Are certain plants/root structures more or less susceptible to soil conditions created by jumping worms?
How do woodland wildflowers, such as trillium, survive in jumping worm infested soil? Does an annual application of aged, fungal-rich wood chips benefit the plants?
Do jumping worms eat invasive plants?
What is the relationship (if any) between garlic mustard and jumping worms? Could the worms make the soil more attractive to garlic mustard or vice versa?
What are the recommendations for watershed managers who are managing/stewarding forest lands adjacent to drinking water reservoirs?
How might the presence of jumping worms impact robin migration?
How did the jumping worms get here? Is there any effort to stop their import?
How might jumping worms have been introduced to wooded, un-landscaped areas?
Why does it seem that gardeners who have been gardening for decades have only been spotting jumping worms in the past couple of years?
Why do the jumping worm genera Metaphire spp. and Amynthas spp. tend to co-occur? Are there many cases where the genera or individual species occur alone?
Are jumping worms less prevalent in turf (especially low-cut turf, such as on golf courses) since they seem to dwell more where there is a cover of leaf litter or mulch?
Is it true that jumping worms bioaccumulate toxins from the soil and therefore are not good to feed to chickens?
Is it likely that the increased population of jumping worms in New England is related to warming temperatures?
It is possible that climate change is promoting population increase and expanded distribution of jumping worms. The growing season has increased by several days, primarily in the spring when the cocoons hatch. A longer season means that the worms may have more time to produce cocoons. More importantly, in areas where they are at the margins of their range, they get a few more days to become reproductively mature. Jumping worms need approximately 80 to 90 days to mature. So, a location that had a 79-day frost free period 20 years ago would likely be a place where jumping worms could survive now because they’re able to produce cocoons. There are now reports from Canada where worms had not been reported previously, possibly indicating a spread in territory or the presence of larger (and therefore noticeable) populations.
How will a consumer know if mulch or soil sold by a company is jumping worm-free?
Does “hot” compost kill jumping worm adults and/or cocoons?
Can soil amendments stored on the ground be reinfested with jumping worms?
After confirming the presence of adult jumping worms in the garden in September, what can a gardener do to reduce the population as worms begin to hatch from cocoons the following spring?
How can gardeners safely share plants with friends or provide plants for garden club/community plant sales?
Have any efforts been made to control the sale of jumping worms for fishing and composting activities?
How are jumping worms dealt with in their countries of origin?
Do earthworms have any predators here?
Will birds eat the jumping worms?
What are the risks/benefits of using chickens to remove jumping worms?
Is using Beauveria bassiana, an entomopathogenic (pathogenic to insects) fungus, effective at managing jumping worms?
What is the status of using tea seed meal for controlling jumping worms?
Is there evidence that jumping worms avoid plants that produce a large amount of saponins?
Can alfalfa, with its high saponin content, be used as a vermicide?
Would manipulating the biology of jumping worms, e.g., sterilization, prevent them from multiplying?
What is a mustard extraction mix used for and how is it prepared?
What effect does mustard have on plants and other soil fauna?
Is it best to put down mustard solution to bring the worms out of the ground before they deposit cocoons?
Would tilling the soil kill jumping worms?
Would a blow torch on an open area of soil kill the jumping worms and or castings?
Will dropping jumping worms into a bucket of soapy water kill them?
Yes. If juvenile or adult jumping worms are found in a garden or landscape, dropping them into a bucket of soapy water will kill them. However, doing so as a management technique may not be entirely effective. While you may eliminate as many individuals as you can find in an area, it is highly likely that there will be cocoons and eggs left behind. So this practice will not eradicate all jumping worms from a single location, and it is currently unknown whether this will reduce populations to any significant degree.
How do jumping worms differ from European earthworms?
What is the difference between the cocoons from jumping worms and European earthworms?
Do European earthworms cause harm in farm soils?
Are there any native earthworms in New England?
Where should citizens report jumping worm sightings?
What is solarization and is it effective for eradicating jumping worms and cocoons? How does it work?
What is the latest research on using biochar to manage jumping worms?
What is the latest research on using sand to manage jumping worms?
What is the latest research on using diatomaceous earth to manage jumping worms?
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