Submitted Article / Photo by Nancy Knauss
Jumping Earthworms! It may sound like an exclamation, but it is actually an aggressive Asian earthworm that is negatively impacting our gardens and ecosystem. Find out how to recognize this invasive species and help limit its spread by attending a Jumping Worms program hosted and held at the Susquehanna County Free Library in Montrose on Wednesday, May 26 from 2 to 4 pm.
Susquehanna County Master Gardener trainee Carol McNamara will guide attendees through the Jumping Earthworm’s history, life cycle, prevention, and control. Asian jumping worms, of which there are 3 species are a relatively new invasive, but they are rapidly spreading across the United States and cases have been reported in Susquehanna County.
One telltale sign of an infestation is a very uniform, granular soil created from worm castings, the nutrient-rich soil that the worms leave behind. The texture of this soil is often compared to coffee grounds.
When you scratch the top layer of soil, you will see the worms thrashing about with an erratic, snakelike movement. These worms, which can reach 6 inches in length, are much more active than European nightcrawlers. If you examine a worm close-up, you will notice the prominent band around the body of the worm called the clitellum, where cocoons are produced. On a jumping worm, the band completely encircles the body, is milky white to light gray and is flush with the body. On European nightcrawlers, the clitellum is raised and reddish-brown color and does not wrap entirely around the body.
Please join us for this important and educational program. You may register through the Susquehanna County Free Library’s website at: www.susqcolibrary.org. You’re also welcome to come to the library and register.
For COVID protocol, there will be limited seating, chairs will be spread wide apart and everyone including the speaker needs to wear a mask. The program will be held in the Community Room.
For further information call the Susquehanna County Free Library at 570.278.1881 or the Penn State Extension Master Gardener program at: 570-666-9003, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Facebook: Penn State Ext Master Gardeners of Susquehanna County, PA.