Where have all the earthworms gone?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by RoscoeElegante, May 26, 2020.

  1. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    Hey, all. Hope this finds you & loved ones well.

    Searching around the yard over the last few days, I've been amazed to find almost no worms of any sort. Neither our yard nor any yard around us is chemically treated. We've got an old church whose yard I help tend on one side, woods behind us, a minimally maintained/never sprayed park behind that, a happily lazy neighbor next door. So the worms haven't been (directly) zapped.

    The habitat is right, too. Our yard is a combination of (old) lawn, freshly overturned areas where a couple of big old trees came down in a storm, edge/brushy area, bare earth under bushes/in the weeds, etc. Plenty of bare earth here and there where the squirrels have dug for nuts, the dog has given himself some exercise, the kids have foxholed their GI Joes. I checked our neighbor's adjoining vegetable garden. And there too, under the leaf litter they had put down over the nice loam they worked up a couple of weeks ago, nada. I've dug down a half-foot in various places, I've overturned leaf clutter in various places, nothing. I went out in the very early morning, just now (1 a.m., here), in mid-day, in the evening, etc. I stalked, crept, and peered. I used to catch nightcrawlers by the hundreds for fishing, and I know where to dig up red wigglers. But nope.

    I'm trying to collect them to get a little worm farm started for my sons and me to use for fishing. (And to keep them occupied.) I finally have time to do this, but what a weird zilcheroo this is. I don't ever remember not being to find at least red wigglers in late May in Virginia before! Hell, I used to gather them in early April in Upstate NY. Even after the big rains we recently had, not a worm was on the sidewalk gasping between robins and bike tires. I asked our mailman if he'd seen any, and he said, "Now that you mention it, not a single one all Spring."

    What gives?

    It has been pretty chilly and rainy, so maybe the cold weather and cold rain has kept them deep? Is the ground really too cold for any worm activity near or on the surface like this? I just had my hands in soil in various places around here and it didn't feel particularly cold.

    If the food chain is breaking down, I'm mad at myself for not getting the BIG box of Toasted Cheez-Its the last time I put on the Sherman tank and went shopping....
     
  2. Fretting out

    Fretting out Friend of Leo's

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    Hmmm the other day I was digging and was actually surprised at the abundance of worms around me
    And a couple hundred ant hills near the drainage ditch in the front yard (not exaggerating, it’s like the ants are waiting for our demise)

    Maybe they will return?

    Even saw a couple bees which I’m happy about

    Are you going out in the rain? Doesn’t that bring em up sometimes?
     
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  3. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    Yes, it's rained so much here, I got the gumbo platter: went out in drizzles, in steady rains, in periodic showers, during and after thunderstorms, and even in a vagabond tropical depression's pulsing rain. And in between. On cool and cloudy days. On sunny days in the shade. At 9 p.m., at 1 a.m., at 6 a.m., etc. I've never seen such squirmlessness! Who's gonna veranda my eye sockets once my kids inherit my debts, and other such morbid worries?

    I'm hoping that the ground is just too cold just beneath where I've dug down to. We did have a few nights just above freezing last week. Even so, I'm absolutely sure I've caught and seen lots of worms when the ground was much colder. Mystified!

    On the other hand, I have seen a lot of honey bees this year thus far. And no murder hornets, thankfully, if we leave the lawyer who lives at the corner out of it....
     
  4. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have only seen one bumble bee, one solitary butterfly and one ladybird all year. I live in the sticks in a national park renowned for its nature. So i had started to notice losses. Its certainly not like previous years and nothing like my childhood.

    The abundance of diverse, small wildlife has definitely gone. At least around here.

    It has been very dry though and the worms may have gone very deep but our gardening (and the sad task of digging a grave for a dead pet) was worm free... now you mention it. I would have expected a few 6-8” lumbricus terrestris.

    i spin and fish fly these days so have not hunted worms for a while. The compost heap was usually a heaving mass but was free of any big worms this year too.

    What are scientists saying? We have had another ‘hottest x day on record’ event which has now become annual.
     
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  5. chet again

    chet again Tele-Afflicted

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    They moved to my yard cause they know that I'll be fishin' for catfish pretty soon.

    I picked up a dozen or so the other night.
     
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  6. edvard

    edvard Tele-Afflicted

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    The Robins have been busy in my yard, and the last time I moved the big cement blocks I use to chock my tires when I jack the car up, there were plenty of worms underneath, big fat nightcrawlers.
     
  7. Boil

    Boil Tele-Holic

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    They are all at my place, we got Dew worms, so many that our lawn is an ankle twisting nightmare.
     
  8. Fretting out

    Fretting out Friend of Leo's

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    Even in my lifetime or at least the last 20 years I’ve noticed that there aren’t as many bees as when I grew up in the 90’s, praying mantis and bees used to be fairly prevalent

    I don’t have any worry for the birds around here, we have scores of balled eagles, when I was a kid they were “going extinct”, maybe we still have a chance?
     
  9. HoodieMcFoodie

    HoodieMcFoodie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I believe they have gone to ground...
     
  10. chezdeluxe

    chezdeluxe Poster Extraordinaire

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    Groan.....:twisted:
     
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  11. HoodieMcFoodie

    HoodieMcFoodie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    You in pain Gerry? :D
     
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  12. ping-ping-clicka

    ping-ping-clicka Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    you can say that again " say that again"
    5499eec5084d169a5ed406d2d9eabb52.jpg
     
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  13. Peegoo

    Peegoo Friend of Leo's

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    We've got buckets of 'em here in the garden soil.
     
  14. stxrus

    stxrus Friend of Leo's

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    Never really seen any earthworms here but out ground is rock & clay. Not the best habitat for them
     
  15. wrathfuldeity

    wrathfuldeity Tele-Afflicted

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    We got the usual amount. In fact my kitchen compost bin is full of red wigglers. It just a 30 gal plastic trash barrel with 4-5 1.5 inch holes drilled out on the bottom. It sits in a shady part of the yard and we dump only veggie scraps, no meat, bones or egg shells. So now you can become a worm wrangler.
     
  16. stormsedge

    stormsedge Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    We have had a wet winter and spring (thankfully)...making the earthworms seek "dry" ground in the street by the hundreds almost daily. They rarely find their way back to soil as the birds feast on them and the sun bakes the leftovers.
     
  17. Urshurak776

    Urshurak776 Tele-Holic

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    I have a ton of Earthworms in my yard. You're welcome to them :)
     
  18. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    Just put in my tomatoes yesterday and man there are a lot of worms. Some honeybees, lots of carpenter bees eating my porch roof. 5 baby groundhogs and a momma. Way more birds trying to nest in my eaves than I can tolerate.
     
  19. zosofan

    zosofan Tele-Meister

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    Odd this topic comes up now because I was wondering the same thing.
    I fish for channel cats so I dig my own worms usually. This year so far they have been very short in supply. I do find some in the usual location s around my place but in much lower numbers than usual.
    Strange.

    Sent from my SM-J320W8 using Tapatalk
     
  20. telleutelleme

    telleutelleme Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    We have some really large ones in Texas. Last week I saw one with a rattle on its tail.

    Seriously we have quite a few earthworms under the flagstones in our yard.
     
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