Worms Crawling on to Cement to Avoid Moisture May Be Earthworms or May Not – Here’s How to Get More Accurate Worm Identification

Worms found on this reader’s concrete are disturbing her as they “come to get away from water” and “dry up”. She says she cannot “get them off” and asks what she should use to fix this problem.

Now, with no photographs and little context, identifying this worm will be next to impossible. Other than our reader stating that the worms “look bad on my front”, our reader did not provide more information than what has already been covered. We know that the worms avoid moisture and that they dry up. These two facts seem to be at odds with each other. One would think that a worm that dries up after getting away from water would actually seek out moisture. That being said, this does sound like a pretty common phenomenon — as oxymoronic as that sounds — that involves earthworms; earthworms will surface from underground during a period of rain (as they thrive in moisture), but then once the sun comes out, the rain stops, and the environment becomes warmer and drier again, the earthworms die above ground before they can burrow into the earth again.

Of course, we cannot assume that this is what is going on, nor can we assume they are earthworms, or any organism for that matter. There is simply too little to go by. They could very well be millipedes, who also commonly come up on people’s porches after/during periods of rain and die there (or pretend to die, curling up into little ‘C’ shapes). They could be some type of garden worm, either a pot worm or a red wiggler, but then again, we do not even know if these worms were found in a garden, in our reader’s home, or somewhere else. All we can say is that we do not advise using anything to get rid of the worms as our reader wishes to. Insecticides and other chemical agents can have damaging, long-term effects on plant, human and animal health. Besides, since neither our reader, nor we know what these worms actually are, no treatment should be applied without knowing the identity of the worms.

We recommend that our reader sends in more context with some photographs if she wants the worms to be properly identified. Context that can be very useful includes the location the worms were found (environment, as well as geographical location), number of worms, their color and length, and the behavior of the worms. Photographs should preferably be taken in good lighting with the focus being on the worm. Multiple photos are encouraged and appreciated, such as size comparisons (with the worm next to an object or ruler), pictures of the environment, and multiple angles of the same worm.

That said, let us take a stab at suggesting an identification based on the most common scenario: often when someone writes in to us about worms avoiding moisture, and ending up on concrete, the situation is that it has been raining, and earthworms are coming up out of the wet ground and moving to a concrete sidewalk or walkway. So based on numbers alone, if we had to guess (which we suppose we do), we would guess that they are earthworms, and in this scenario. Our reader can easily confirm or disprove this by seeing if he worms have a thick band round their middle (which is known as an earthworms clitellum).

To conclude, we do not know the identity of these worms that have come up on our reader’s concrete “to get away from water.” With this little context and no photos, it is unfortunately very difficult for us to give any answers. Nonetheless, we hope this article was helpful to our reader, and any of our other readers, in that it perhaps helped them understand what they can send in with their query to get the best chance at receiving an accurate identification and any answers to the questions they have.

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Worms Crawling on to Cement to Avoid Moisture May Be Earthworms or May Not - Here's How to Get More Accurate Worm Identification
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Worms found on this reader's concrete are disturbing her as they "come to get away from water" and "dry up". She says she cannot "get them off" and asks what she should use to fix this problem.
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