If you see a worm with a white band around it, kill it ASAP

There’s a stealthy army invading many parts of the United States, and all of its troops are unarmed. Literally. They don’t even have a backbone.

Many local ecosystems in North America are becoming feeding and breeding grounds for one really creepy critter. It’s called the jumping worm.

Just the sight of this pink, slimy worm wriggling on the soil is enough to make most people recoil.

YouTube - Inside Edition Source: YouTube - Inside Edition

But just how big a problem are they?

Well, let’s just say we’re gonna have to open up a big can of worms…

These wriggly little jerks are awfully good at avoiding being detected. It’s pretty hard to catch a culprit that’s small enough to hide in the soil. This just makes them even more of a problem.

YouTube - Inside Edition Source: YouTube - Inside Edition

Belonging to the genus Amynthas, jumping worms are voracious and unrelenting. They will eat up any trace of plant matter – fresh or decaying, that ends up on the soil.

These aren’t your everyday friendly earthworms.

That means no crunchy leaves for you to step on and no plant litter for any other critters that need them either. Sucks, doesn’t it?

YouTube - Inside Edition Source: YouTube - Inside Edition

Jumping worms will consume any trace of nutrients in the soil, which spells bad news for the soil. Without nutrients, the soil becomes coarse, granule-like, and unable to grow anything.

When the worms invade, the soil develops a “coffee grind” consistency.

Coupled with the fact that the worms can reproduce asexually – that is, without the need to mate, it kind of explains why they’re such a massive problem. Jumping worms are an invasive species from Asia. The rich soils of North America and lack of natural predators made it the perfect place for them to invade.

YouTube - Inside Edition Source: YouTube - Inside Edition

As for the name, “Jumping worms” aren’t really jumping. It’s more like they’re wriggling themselves with enough intensity to get airborne for a second or two.

Ecologist Brad Herrick explained many bits of the worms’ ecology to Inside Edition. He noted that the worms can get airborne to about an inch off the ground.

Pretty respectable for how small they are.

YouTube - Inside Edition Source: YouTube - Inside Edition

But big dangers can come in small packages, and the jumping worms are no exception. Their destructive path leaves much of the soil dead in the ecosystem. With all the plant matter they eat up, there’s nothing for birds to build nests with or for other, less intrusive bugs, to eat.

Such is the nature of invasive species.

They thrive where they don’t belong, and the native species are the ones that have to pay for it. So what can we do about it? Is there any way to stop these things?

YouTube - Inside Edition Source: YouTube - Inside Edition

Do we have to go all Doom slayer on them? You know, rip and tear until it’s done?

Well, surprisingly, the answer is…kind of. Herrick suggests that when you see one of these worms, identifiable by a distinct white ring around the neck, you should bag them up and toss them in the garbage. Or kill them some other way. Just don’t use them as fish bait.

There’s a way to get rid of them.

YouTube - Inside Edition Source: YouTube - Inside Edition

The answer is mustard.

About 1/3 a cup of it to be exact. Mix it with water and pour it into the soil. It’ll irritate their skin and send them wriggling out. Then you can let them have it.

Bred Herrick also encourages people to stop and think if we’re helping spread them even more. Their eggs can slip into the heels of your boots pretty easily, and you could unknowingly help propagate them by taking them to new places.

YouTube - Inside Edition Source: YouTube - Inside Edition

So give your boots a good old cleaning and brushing, just to be sure.

If you have the courage, you can watch a detailed video about these destructive worms down below. Remember to find someone to share this article with too!

Watch the video below!

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Source: Inside Edition on YouTube, Amynthas on Wikipedia, Smithsonian Magazine