‘Jumping Worms’ Headed for NJ
It sounds like the plot from a bad horror movie, but it is real life.
An invasive species of jumping worms from Asia have been reported in Massachusetts and Minnesota and are listed as a "species of concern" in several states including New York.
It's just a matter of time before these worms jump over to New Jersey.
But why are these worms making headlines? Well, this invasive type of worm grows extremely fast and devours various organic matter at a rapid pace. The worms spread through the transfer of mulch, compost, leaf litter, and plants. They were once sold as fishing bait but were recently prohibited.
Other nicknames for the species include "crazy worms, snake worms, Jersey wigglers, and Alabama Jumpers," according to the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association.
The adults all die off in the winter. But their eggs survive in the soil, hatch out in the spring and new jumping worms emerge, all twisty and active and hungry.
One of the most concerning points about these worms is that it only takes a single jumping worm to start an infestation. That’s because the worms are able to reproduce without a mate. It’s this ability to infest areas without large groups that make these invasive jumping worms so terrifying to the local environment.
Are you sufficiently freaked out yet? I am.
Experts suggest that you shouldn't purchase the worms for bait, gardening, or composting—and should only buy compost or mulch that has been adequately heated to reduce the spread of egg casings, which do not survive temperatures over 104 degrees Fahrenheit, Newsweek reports.