Firstly a big thank you to our survey participants. You have now entered over 100 results into the Earthworm Watch website but we need lots more! Summer is fast approaching, and the weather is getting hotter and dryer. We have extended the survey into June, and need your help to complete your survey before earthworms become less active.
So where do earthworms go in the summer?
Earthworms loose water very quickly through their skin so need moist conditions to survive, during the summer months they have two different ways of coping with dry conditions, depending on the type of earthworm.
Deep-living and soil-feeding earthworms burrow deep into the soil and surround themselves in protective cocoon of mucous. This is called aestivation and during this time the earthworms do not feed but stay curled up until the soil becomes wetter and they can become active again. If you are surveying in dry soil you may find earthworms coiled up like in the photo.
Surface-living earthworms do not make burrows so adults often die during dry periods. However, their egg cocoons are tough and resistant to drying out and can wait in the soil until wet conditions cause them to hatch.
By July there will be far fewer earthworms in your soil which will make it difficult for us to use your data so please take advantage of this Bank Holiday and school half term to complete your survey!
If you haven’t already received a pack, please sign up at www.earthwormwatch.org/get-involved