People are fleeing California, but the Asian jumping worm – an aggressive species that can jump a foot into the air – has just arrived.
The worm, known to scientists as Amynthas agrestis, is invasive, aggressive, and has an insatiable appetite. It has shown up in 34 states so far, but its newly discovered presence in the Golden State has farmers, gardeners, and forestry experts worried. The hyper-aggressive worms eat massive amounts of topsoil and render it into a grainy dirt likened to coffee grounds, according to AccuWeather.com.
“True to their name, they jump and thrash immediately when handled, behaving more like a threatened snake than a worm, sometimes even breaking and shedding their tail when caught,” the California Department of Food and Agriculture wrote in a report.
The jumping worm is native to Japan and the Korean Peninsula, but showed up in American dirt in Wisconsin in 2013, likely after stowing away in potted plants, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“Jumping worms are voracious feeders and can devour such a thick organic mat so as to deplete it completely in 2-5 years,” the California agency noted. “Also, by clearing the forest floors of understory plants and leaf debris, the worms encourage erosion and provide more accessible avenues for infection by other invasive species of organisms.”
In a recent blog post, U.S. Forest Service researcher Mac Callaham painted a grim picture of the worm from hell.
“Asian jumping worms can eat all of it,” he wrote. “They are never satiated. “Soil is the foundation of life, and Asian jumping worms change it. In fact, earthworms can have such huge impacts that they’re able to actually reengineer the ecosystems around them.”
The best way to stop the invasion may be to bake the worms in their cocoons, according to a 2019 study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The study found that the cocoons were extremely sensitive to heat, and that temperatures between 81 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit might be enough to finish them off before they can ravage the earth.
According to AccuWeather’s summer forecast, a hot summer season is expected in California, which could make the state’s soil hot enough to kill off the next generation of the ravenous worm.
The destructive worm gives Golden State residents yet another reason to flee, adding to rampant homelessness, skyrocketing crime and high taxes. The state population declined last year for the second year in a row, The Daily Wire recently reported.