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Mischievous earthworms

A number of years ago, my husband and I laid a concrete paver patio. We put the pavers on a compacted sand bed and swept sand in all the cracks. After a few years some of the sand had been washed away and we began to notice that in the mornings during wet weather, there were twigs sticking out of the spaces between the pavers. We would pull the twigs out, but the next morning they were back. Very strange! Then one night my son came over and when we told him about it, he and my husband went out there and shined a red light on the patio. Amazingly, the sticks were being pulled into the holes by earthworms! I swear this is true! I am not crazy (well, maybe I am, but I'm not making this up). Anyway, this is still going on.



Has anyone ever seen anything like this? Why would worms do this?
By the way, if we shine white light on them, they disappear into their holes with lightning speed.

Super Green Thumb
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That's a great image.

Night crawlers are like crocodiles. They pull their prey under to let it rot a while before eating it. After a big windstorm the other day I found green leaves partially pulled down holes (the leaves wadded up and clogged the holes). The nightcrawlers pull grass clippings under so if I let my clippings dry on the lawn for too many days 9befor collecting for garden mulch) a large proportion disappears. They can also pull under seedlings.

There was an arguement about it on one of the forums (IIRC) in the past year and someone eventually posted pics of the worms in action to prove it to the nay sayers.

Senior Member
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Wow - they are very busy and productive. :lol: I imagine they become very annoyed with you when you remove them!

john gault
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Very good early documentation of that in Charles Darwin's final book: The Formation of Vegetable Mould.

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LOL sorry, but this is too funny. My first thought when seeing this thread was "how can earthworms be mischievous?". I guess I now know. Maybe you have mutant nightcrawlers. Thanks for the giggle :)

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Greener Thumb
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I've had them pull down the the tips of dying lower leaves on a number of different kinds of plants, especially long, thin grass-like leaves like salsify. sometimes to the point where the whole plant will be leaning over because a leaf is being pulled down on one side...not surprisingly, mulch stops this...(then they switch over to pulling the mulch down from below, piece by piece).

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We have the busy bee worms too! Our yard looks hilarious with all the sticks reaching for the sky. All our grass is gone too!

Greener Thumb
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That's what happens to onion plants when you first plant them out. The worms pull the tops under the soil and into their holes. It's pretty neat. Here the worms pull those huge sycamore leaves underground leaving just the stem sticking out. I've got several places where I leave the old leaves lay just so the worms will have something to do and leave my plants alone.

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I completely forgot about this. I'm going to keep an eye out next time it rains. :-()

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