Asian Jumping Worms Invade Brothers Campfire

Hello,

Benjamin from Brother’s Campfire here!

The intention of this blog post demonstrate what information is passed to us by the news.

Due to the political nature of everything, I feel I can mitigate strong feelings other than my disdain for news by talking about an invasive species instead of the volatile stuff.

Perhaps this post will broaden the perspective we have when reading content.

Ahem… Tap Tap… Check … Mic Check…

As a devotee to many things things creepy crawly, I have been interested in the invasion of Amynthas Agrestis, the Asian jumping worm. These little beasties have been in the news lately, but upon further digging, this is probably content filler for outlets with nothing better to write about. Here is an example.

Jumping worms, the evil twin of earthworms, showing up in California

This headline by By Allison Finch, from Accuweather.com may be a bit over the top, clickbait, if you will.

This article tells me they are invasive, aggressive, can jump and thrash, have an voracious and insatiable appetites and can be found in 34 states. This article leaves me wondering with more questions than answers as to whether they are evil.

Do they eat plants? Do they bully other critters? Do they jump up and slap your girl?

I don’t know. If we will dig in the muck, we may discover more.

Lets get started with Wikipedia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amynthas_agrestis

Amynthas agrestis, the Asian jumping worm, is a species of worm in the family Megascolecidae.[1] They have a smooth, glossy grey or brown body with a milky white clitellum,[2] and can range from 1.5 to 8 inches (3.8 to 20.3 cm) in length.[2]Amynthas agrestis is native to Japan and the Korean Peninsula, and was introduced to North America due to increased human activity during the 19th century;[3][4][5][6] it is considered to be an invasive species in the United States. Worms within the genus Amynthas reproduce and develop quicker than their European counterparts.[7]

The Amynthas agrestis became a problem in the United States, specifically the Southern United States, during the 19th century. There is increasing concern about this invasive species.[8][9][10][11]

Wait, since the 1800s? Is this news from up to 200 years ago?

One of the main concerns is the over-consumption of leaf litter, which will impact the microbial and species diversity of the native soil. Many of these ecological scientists have created ways to control this invasive species. One of the main ways to control Amynthas agrestis is controlled burn in grassy fields and some forests. This method removes leaf litter, the main food source for Amynthas agrestis, which should thoroughly control the overall population of Asian worms.[12]

I see. These worms overconsume, impacting the diversity of microbes and species so we should burn the food source for all to remove them. This sounds like a scorched earth policy, but I bet it is effective and the native species can repopulate.

According to The Gaudian, this may not work in all areas though.

“They are destructive and cause severe damage to hardwood forests, especially those consisting of maple, basswood, red oak, poplar or birch species that rely on thick layers of leaf litter that serve as rooting medium,” according to the CDFA report, which notes that the “voracious feeders” can devour a cover of organic material in “two to five years”.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/may/21/invasive-jumping-worms-amynthas-agrestis-california

This is insightful. There is a significant impact to hardwood forests with an explanation. Good job, Gaurdian.

Well, not so fast. This is how the article got my attention.

Extremely active’ jumping worms that can leap a foot raise alarm in California

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/may/21/invasive-jumping-worms-amynthas-agrestis-california

I…

Want…

To See This!

So, I went out on a quest to see the mighty Asian Jumping Worm complete this act of athleticism. I tried YouTube.

I was unable to find ANY videos of Asian Jumping Worms jumping. (I also searched “asian jumping worm leaping.”)

However, I did find this from Inside Edition. It sort of stresses me out.

I wonder if most people will indiscriminately kill all worms in an effort to save the world. Out of 2.4 million views on this clip alone, there are bound to be folks that cannot differentiate between the Asian jumping worm and the European Earthworm.

These are the “good guys.”

Wait… This is a pest in some areas as well? Which is the evil twin?

Oh….Silly me.

I meant the European Nightcrawler.

Seriously, I will have a hard time telling these three creepy crawlies apart, other than one writhes around aggressively. Is this it?

They are in the top six inches of my soil, but rather lethargic.

Willow Manor Worms

Are they safe? Who knows? My birds love them.

Kill them all and let the dark worm lord sort it out I suppose if you listen to the Google and the news.

Why bring up something that has been a concern for centuries as if it were new?

Why say they can leap a foot in the air when there is nothing to support this?

Why enencourage folks to kill something difficult to identify? Surely, we will kill beneficial critters and allow worse ones.

Yeah, moles in my garden will be a great idea. Why do ground nesting birds disappear? Are they pulled under, or frightened?

I have no clue if the Asian Jumping Worm is an evil twin or if all earthworms are evil.

The intention of this blog post demonstrate what information is passed to us by the news, and I hope this post raised more questions than answers. I think all major media is like this at the moment.

Author: Benjamin

Benjamin Thiel is a husband, father, correctional professional and author of The Ongoing Tale at Brothers Campfire.

27 thoughts on “Asian Jumping Worms Invade Brothers Campfire

  1. anne leueen says:

    Good grief! I know nothing of jumping worms. But I do know Japanese beetles are bad guys. They arrived early in the 20th C. On iris plants coming from Japan. They are prolific and eat through food crops and my climbing hydrangeas with voracious appetites. I have had to put out traps for two years and have trapped thousands of them. But not enough to halt their eating damage. Apparently they cost the agricultural industry in the US millions each year!

    Reply
  2. Homemaking in the Dunes says:

    This is perfect for how misinformation is spread. By the way your thirteen year old veteran had a fan club with his stories by my 12 and 13 year old. I am almost home. I just left Canon City. My husband took over the driving at this point. We should be home in 5 hours.

    Reply
          1. Homemaking in the Dunes says:

            I needed to really dig deep to find grace to deal with my family member, courage to speak up for myself , and then it went south quick.

          2. Benjamin says:

            Those things happen. Setting a clear set of expectations is important.

  3. alisendopf says:

    It’s an educational process to understand how media works, and how to differentiate between fillers and real news. I can’t imagine being a journalist and needing a new story every single day. These are some very creative people 😅

    Reply
  4. herbthiel says:

    I agree with you, there is a lot of distortion in the media. I want to see a worm that leaps a foot in the air.

    Reply
    1. Benjamin says:

      So far, that is what I call it until shown otherwise. All of my life, I was taught they were helpful. Now, all of a sudden, they are the scourge of the earth.

      The news is like that.

      Reply
          1. Adelheid says:

            No problem! By the way, if you don’t mind, what time is it now on your end? From where I am, it’s 7:43 in the evening.

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