Invasive 'Jumping Worms' Are Spreading Through Tennessee

They may look like a typical earthworm, but a new invasive species of worm is spreading through several states, including Tennessee.

According to WKRN, "jumping worms" have been appearing across the state, but Professor of Horticulture Crops Entomology Frank Hale said the wriggling worms come from outside of the United States, and despite the name, you won't see them hopping around outside.

If they don't actually jump around, where did the name come from?

"They are from Asia. So, they are often called Asian jumping worms or jumping worms because they wiggle a lot," said Hale, a professor at the University of Tennessee. "Not all of the species will do that, but they are pretty large worms, and they wiggle quite a bit."

Jumping worms look similar to the average earthworm found in Tennessee but with a white band around them. While most worms may appear harmless, Hale said this species could potentially threaten the ecology of the state by damaging plant roots in gardens, forests and nurseries. In order to prevent them from starting a colony, landscape specialist Ben Trest has offered a non-chemical solution.

"Getting them on a dry surface; getting them out of the moist soil," said Trest, of Bates Nursery in Nashville. "Where we are at in Middle Tennessee is just being aware, and if we do see it, then we need to start taking action."

Check out the video below, courtesy of WKRN, to see learn more about jumping worms.

Photo: Getty Images

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