Check mulch piles for jumping worms as these persistent pests have now comfortably established themselves in gardens and yards across Illinois.
The worms are an invasive species that have been reported in 40 Illinois counties, Chris Evans, a scientist with the University of Illinois Extension, said.
Anyone getting mulch from a community mulch pile should cover it with black plastic and let the sun bake it for two or three days before they use it in their yard, Evans advised.
He advised gardeners to be on the lookout for and take care not to move the invertebrates around. Once they get in the soil, there is no way to kill them off.
He suggested that having worms in the soil does not mean the garden is dead.
Jumping worms wiggle violently when they are touched. Identify them by the white band they have around their middle.
Scoop them up. Put them in plastic bags and let the plastic bags bake in the sun to kill the worms.
But once jumping worms get a foothold in a yard, it’s nearly impossible to kill them off, Evans said.