When I told the previous owners of the house that I intended to plant vegetables in the yard, they looked panic-stricken and said I shouldn’t do that because they had used a lot of pesticides. Cue lots of research on my part and a conversation with a soil scientist, and the conclusion was that pesticides weren’t as dangerous to human health as lead or arsenic in the soil.
When we got the place, the soil was devoid of any life that wasn’t microscopic, so we decided to add organic matter to the soil in the form of wood chips and leaves, and then wait for life to return. And it has! I found at least a dozen worms today as I dug some paths. It’s reassuring to see them.
Worms found in the winter are going to be the European nightcrawler, which came to North America with the colonists and fit in well with the local ecosystems. There is another worm, the Asian Jumping Worm, that has recently arrived and poses a threat to our ecosystems, due to its voracious eating habits.
This is a jumping worm. And yes it is a picture of a photo on my phone because good lord I am going to switch away from Weebly as a website host very soon. These worms are like a sleek muscle, and the white band around their neck is even with their body, not raised. I had to look at a lot of pictures and videos to be able to determine which was a nightcrawler and which was a jumping worm, but I’ve learned to distinguish the difference easily and so can you! I had them last fall and I will keep an eye out for them in the spring (they cannot survive our winters as adults but their eggs can). Unfortunately, at this time, they should be killed when they are found; they pose a huge threat to our environment. My question, to which I haven’t found an answer, is: What do they eat in their native Japan? How can we use their natural tendencies to lessen their impact here?
I will write more about them in the spring. I found this video to be very informative when I was looking for more information last fall, in case your interest is piqued: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JvxrcYbIKk
Now I will go do a little celebratory dance to welcome the worms.