A species of worm called the “jumping worm” is spreading across Connecticut.
“They damage the root systems of shallow-rooted plants,” said Dr. Gale E. Ridge, associate scientist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.
The worm, which has a milky white neck and a strong, rigid body, has the potential to devastate landscapes and forest ecosystems.
Ridge called them a European earthworm on steroids.
The species originated in Japan in the late 1940s, when they were imported to the Bronx Zoo to feed platypuses, and spread in New York via downed trees after Superstorm Sandy.
Now, she believes the yard work people have been doing while spending more time at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic is contributing.
“I suspect more people were staying home due to COVID, gardening more, bringing in more materials, and therefore further spreading earthworms in New England,” Ridge said.
If you find them on your property, pick them up and put them in soapy water, he said.