Jumping earthworms spread throughout Connecticut, destroying plant life
A species of earthworms is spreading throughout the state and destroying plant life in the process.
Entomologist Gale Ridge with the Agriculture Experiment Station in New Haven says the worms can destabilize the soil and make it harder for some plants to grow.
They also can accumulate toxic metals like mercury and lead, which are then eaten by birds and other animals.
Ridge says you'll know when you see one of these earthworms.
"The jumping worms behave like snakes. The collar, which is behind the head with jumping worms, circles the entire body and is a creamy white color and it's flat," said Ridge.
Ridge says more Asian jumping worms have been reported since the end of last summer, primarily along the coast in Guilford and Clinton but also now in Fairfield County.
Ridge says the worms were first introduced deliberately to feed Australian platypuses at the Bronx Zoo in the 1940s. She says they spread after Superstorm Sandy.
"About 15,000 trees were brought down from the hurricane and processed mulch and the mulch was shipped out to surrounding areas," said Ridge.
The worms like to make cocoons in the mulch. They can raise carbon monoxide emissions by 50%.
Experts say there's not much you can do to get rid of the worms either as there's no pesticides. They recommend that you wash the roots of the plants before you put them in the ground and also be careful of mulch or potting soil that you buy.