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Jumping worms are known to be in 23 Illinois counties. Unlike regular earthworms that gardeners welcome, jumping worms are bad for the soil. They look like regular earthworms until late summer or fall when they reach more than six inches long. They have what looks like a milky white collar. And they wiggle vigorously when disturbed. University of Illinois Horticulture Educator Richard Hentschel says spring's too early to identify them.

 

 

The worms may not harm a garden where plants are fed with organic materials that are added from time to time. But they can hurt a forest ecosystem where wild plants don't get a gardener's help.

Hentschel says for now, removing the giant worms and throwing them in the trash is the best way to get rid of them. There's nothing known to kill them that won't kill the good worms too.

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