Earthworm castings


Earthworm castings.  Photo by Bart Drees.

Earthworms are not insects, but annelids.  They are beneficial organisms because they break down organic matter. Their tunneling aerates the soil and reduces compaction.  Of the four types of beneficial organisms (predators, parasitoids, pollinators and recyclers), earthworms are considered the kings of recyclers.

However, on very rare occasions, earthworms can become pests in home lawns.  For example, in an area  just north of Houston, Texas they became so numerous they disrupt turfgrass areas, leaving them spongy and littered with earthworm castings.

Earthworm castings.  Photo by Bart Drees.




  1. Edith says:

    Glad to know these are only earthworms. But they’re EVERYWHERE!! I get dirt in my flipflops just walking across the lawn. I don’t want to kill anything that’s beneficial but there are too many at my house! What should I do? I admit, the drought and 100+ degree weather we’ve had has made me not want to get outside any more than necessary so the grass is pretty dead in many places. Would watering help? Insecticide?

  2. bugmug12 says:

    Dear ecertain

    There is really not much you can do (wear shoes instead of flip flops?). No insecticides are registered for earth worm control although some products applied for other turf grass pests have an effect on this non-target organism. See for products listed for turf grass insect pests.


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