Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

Earthworms Taking Over Driveway

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We have what seems to be hundreds of earthworms that appear on our driveway, either dead or still living, throughout the day. Why does this happen, and how do we control them?” -Brenda

After a rain, or when humidity is high, it’s very common to see earthworms making their way to the surface of the earth, including driveways and sidewalks. Earthworms breathe through their skin (they don’t have lungs), and they require a balanced level of moisture in order to survive.

When the soil is too dry, they burrow deeper to find moisture. When the soil is wet, they move closer to the surface. When there is adequate surface moisture or humidity, they venture out aboveground and look for new places to burrow. The wet weather of spring and fall seems to bring them out in droves.

Earthworms are one of those mixed blessings in the yard and garden. One acre of healthy soil can have as many as a million earthworms!

It’s GOOD to have earthworms – they aerate and enrich the soil, move nutrients around, digest and break down organic matter, and improve drainage and soil texture. In fact, earthworms do a better job than any farm or garden practice, and the gardener gets to reap the benefits.

However, the downside of having a healthy earthworm population is that they are constantly underfoot during wet weather.

Because earthworms are considered beneficial creatures, most pest-control products have been designed not to harm them. There are currently no products specifically for controlling earthworms, and it’s really not recommended to try to kill them at all.

So, the problem of earthworms on the driveway is one that we have to learn to live with (by stepping over them, or sweeping or rinsing them off), rather than control. Inviting more birds to your yard may help – I have several large robins in my yard that are constantly gorging at the earthworm buffet, and I’ve never seen a worm left behind.

Julie



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19 Comments on “Earthworms Taking Over Driveway”

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  1. Leslie Says:
    June 2nd, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Julie,

    Why would this happen when the weather is dry? I went outside this morning to find the drive, sidewalk, and street covered in worm jerky. My neighbors drives and sidewalks are also affected.

    I’m used to seeing this after a rain. I’ve never seen it without rain nor have I seen such a number of the poor little creatures.

    Thanks for any info you can share,
    Leslie

  2. Jacob Says:
    June 2nd, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    Julie,

    Like Leslie, I too had the same occurrence with the earthworms this morning. When I went outside at 6:30 AM there were hundreds of worms all over my driveway and sidewalks, as well as those of all my neighbors. My property seemed to have the most though, but the worms were spread all around the cul-de-sac I live on. If you have any idea on what happened, please let me know. Thank you very much.

  3. Lee Berry Says:
    August 11th, 2011 at 7:47 am

    Three weeks ago we had our driveway dug up and repaved with tar. We now are noticing earthworms in our driveway something we never had before. Could this be the reason. Were they disturbed? Hopefully you can answer this for us. Is there a way we can rid of them. Thanks so much.

  4. Nina Says:
    May 22nd, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    how do you get the worms out of the ground ?

  5. allen mahalchik Says:
    May 14th, 2013 at 6:28 am

    Ive lived in my home for 22 yrs . this is the first yr that the earthworms hav come out in thousand after every rain. its amazing they form balls of hundreds if not thousands. They climb the garage doors and fill the spaces. Ive never seen so many at one time in my life. They are all around my house afetr the rain. They seem not to go back in the ground but dry up and die. You would think they would then lessen in numbers but they have increased with every rain. I dont use chemicals on my property so I dont get whats going on. It seems it might be a health hazard and would like some advice how to stop this occuance

  6. Pauline Says:
    August 21st, 2013 at 8:24 am

    I used to see many earthworms in my driveway after a heavy rain. I no longer see any earthworms and wonder why. Any answers?

  7. wayne Says:
    September 14th, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    we have had lots of rain in north carolina this year . This morning I went out to get the news paper and there were hundrens if not thousands of dead earthworms in the driveway. I guess I will get the blower and blow them of the drive.

  8. Gina Says:
    September 16th, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    I recently found 100s of earth worms on paved drive way. Either dead or dieing. I have lived in NC all of my life and have never seen this occurrence. I thought and still maybe think something is going on.
    A week later near my neighborhood at night while walking I came across 100s of centipedes crawling but still alive. I have never seen that many at once. I just wonder if it means something. Maybe, earth quake? curious.
    Gina

  9. Michele Says:
    September 17th, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    We live in NC also and I am seeing the dead worms in my driveway after a rain and without rain. My neighbor up the hill does water his lawn most evening, so I assume that is why. I am wondering if planting some bushes on the edge of the driveway will prevent them from crawling to the driveway?

  10. Reggie Washaya Says:
    October 15th, 2013 at 5:29 am

    We have seen a lot of dead worms on the driveway especially after rains. We have never seen this before and we bit worried about it. Is there anything that can be done? North Carolina

  11. Bonnie Dugan Says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 10:55 am

    I have lived here on a slab for 6 months, Pittsboro, NC; lived in Southport, NC (3 1/2 hrs south)& never had these problems…Just working on an ant infestation & now I wake up to hundred of earthworms all along both garage doors. What do I do to get rid of them permanently? I can’t stand all these issues. Do tell me what to expect spring/summer. Thank you.

  12. jim wojtowicz Says:
    May 15th, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    I don’t believe what i have are earthworms because they have a deep brown color and when you step on them they now excrete a greenish black color.it then is very hard to sweep away. They only look to be about an inch long. They come out at night and love to hide under anything that is dark such as cars and pots and etc. They also like the patio and driveway. Please respond to this site or email me at bjwojt78@gmail.com. I am going bugging.

  13. Annie Says:
    May 23rd, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    I would think that the birds would have a feast on our driveway when this happens but not a one is eaten? Even the crow who would seemingly eat anything can’t be bothered?

  14. Jill Says:
    June 9th, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Here in East Texas, we too, are having an explosion of driveway earthworm sightings in the morning hours. Reading your explanation of increased movement to the surface during periods of high humidity does seem to help me understand why so many more are surfacing. We have had very humid conditions this spring and early summer. I am sure my neighbors would die laughing (or worse!) if they knew I often spend 5 minutes in the morning mumbling “Save the earthworms!” as I try to “rescue” those poor guys that still show signs of life from an untimely concrete baking.

  15. Sandy Evans Says:
    August 14th, 2014 at 8:30 am

    I’m here in Macon GA and the worm invasion on the driveway this morning was massive. I don’t understand, I’ve lived in this house 12 years and have never had a worm issue. It’s just so many it’s gross. I too have tried to rescue some to the front yard but way too many today. HELP…any ideas???

  16. Lee Says:
    August 14th, 2014 at 9:57 am

    It’s nice to see the questions as we’ve had this problem…but WHERE ARE THE ANSWERS???

  17. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    August 14th, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    Hi Lee,
    If by answer you mean the solution to keeping earthworms off your driveway, you could try installing solid edging around the sides of your driveway that sticks up a few inches higher than the ground to provide a barrier to earthworms. To find out more about landscape borders and lawn edging, go to http://www.todayshomeowner.com/video/landscape-borders-and-lawn-edging-for-your-yard/

  18. Angela Says:
    September 23rd, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    Out of the the houses on my block my house is the only one that’s got this issue. Maybe I’m cursed.

  19. inny Says:
    December 10th, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    Hi,

    We have a huge problem with earthworms this year in Northern California due to high amount of early rains. However, I’m most puzzled by the fact that these (2 kinds: small – about 1″ or less & large, common, brown) earthworms not only occupy the driveway but try to get inside the house!!! Every time there’s a heavy rain I have to sweep hundreds of (mostly the smaller black ones) off the threshold, between the screen door & main doors. I understand all that has been said in this thread about their movements, etc. but why are they coming inside?!?

    We often keep the main door open during the day (despite the rain.. it’s CA so it’s quite warm).. and I have to literally sweep them off the indoor carpet! Arghhhhh!!! I hate creepy crawlies IN THE HOUSE!!! Still, I’m loth to kill these as they’re beneficial to the soil, but come on… they are not welcome inside!

    I can’t stop wondering why are they even heading indoors, towards the warmth, when there’s an empty parcel next to our house, a driveway & then small wedge of soil (with a fig tree) on the other side of drive. I really can’t understand this & it’s extremely annoying – even more so because I’m disabled & sweeping them is no light task for me.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have capabilities to hose them off.. and anyway, how to that when for example I found one way inside the house today, crawling on the [berber] carpet.. and dozens on the aforementioned threshold. If it was just one or even a few – I’d think they’re lost, but this is happening repeatedly DURING – NOT AFTER – each HEAVY rain this fall (light rain = no earthworms!).

    This might be a silly question, but could they be drawn to the smell of cat food, which is kept near the door?

    Any advice how to keep them from coming indoors would be much appreciated, thanks!

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