Master Gardner’s Warn Against Crazy Worms

(Dodge County) An invasive species is making waves within the UW Extension Dodge County Master Gardener Association, causing them to cancel a long time annual event. On a recent Community Comment, Master Gardener Carol Shirk explained that the association has two primary events they use to fund their program, one being the annual plant sale and the other their fall symposium.  She says this year they had to cancel the plant sale due to the crazy worm. The invasive Asian earthworm also known as the jumping worm, snake worm, or crazy worm is relatively new to Dodge County.  Nikki Poetter gave some history on the presence of the species in Wisconsin saying that in 2013 the worm was first spotted in Dane county. The species is easily spread within soil, mulch, compost, and plant materials.

The invasive Asian earthworm has since spread to 17 counties in Wisconsin, spreading quickly due to its ability to produce two generations of offspring each season. Poetter also spoke to the impact the invasive worm has on the ecosystem saying that it destroys the soil. The crazy worm leaves the soil with a texture like coarse coffee grounds and leaves the soil unable to grow plant life. The DC Master Gardener Association says identifying the crazy worm is easy. The worm is darker in color than standard earthworms and produces no body slime. The crazy worm also has a nearly white color to the clitellum, the wide band that encircles the worm’s body near its head, giving the invasive crazy worm a higher contrast look compared to the common European earthworm. The DC Master Gardener Association asks that you report colonies of these worms to the DNR at [email protected]