Re: Worms in the ground
- Subject: Re: [cg] Worms in the ground
- From: Adam36055@aol.com
- Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2003 16:20:25 EST
In a message dated 1/19/03 6:53:11 PM Eastern Standard Time,
<< In Bon Terra's publication Basic Vermiculture written by Kelly Slocam ,
he states. "The worm cocoon is an incredibly tough structure, designed
to protect the young inside from environmental extremes and even
ingestions by other animals. Cocoons can be frozen, submerged in water
for extended periods of time, dried and exposed to temperatures far in
excess of what can be tolerated by adult worms without damage to the
young worms inside." That is how it works. >>
So Ray, it seems that my earlier thought that worms might be at work in my
raised bed during next week's Superbowl, with temperatures outside below
freezing, was, to put it bluntly, balderdash. Some research got me this:
When temperatures drop or soils get too warm or dry, worms know what to do.
If it starts getting chilly, many kinds of worms tunnel deep into the soil
before it freezes. Worms "migrate" downward, burrowing deeper to get past the
frost. Sometimes they dig six feet deep! There they stay in their burrows,
prisoners below soil frozen hard as rock and topped by ice and snow. They
coil into a slime-coated ball and go into a sleep-like state called
estivation, which is similar to hibernation for bears. (The mucous, or slime,
keeps the worms from drying out.) Worms will survive in frozen or dry soils
by estivation until conditions improve.
Not all kinds of earthworms make that downward journey to survive winter.
Some kinds of earthworms lay their eggs in cocoons safe in the soil to hatch
when conditions are right. Then they settle under leaf litter on top of the
soil, where winter's cold makes them freeze and die.
I guess the fact that I saw these guys in the late fall, when I put my bed to
rest and in early spring got me confused. Thanks guy!
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