When you go outside and notice tons of dead worms on the sidewalk, it’s only natural to wonder how they got there. Most of the time worms are simply trying to escape rain and eventually die there. When exposed to the air and the sun they dehydrate and die.
This article will explore the top 4 reasons why worms end up dead on the sidewalk.
4 Causes of Worms Dying on the Sidewalk
Below are some of the reasons why worms will die on your sidewalk.
1. Because It Has Rained
Worms know they can drown in heavy puddles of water, so they crawl to the sidewalk, which is usually several inches above the ground, in order to escape this fate. Worms breathe through their skin and when there is too much water in the soil they can drown.
Unfortunately, they remain on the sidewalk afterwards and since there is no food there, they eventually die. Sometimes, they die because they spend such a long time on the sidewalk that they eventually get stepped on or crushed by humans.
2. Because They Dehydrate
Worms tend to remain on the sidewalk for a very long time, even after it stops raining. Because of this, they can easily dehydrate if it’s sunny enough because their bodies are so small and because it doesn’t take that long for the sun to destroy them.
If there are lots of worms on the sidewalk, don’t be surprised because the sun will kill all of the worms that are there.
3. They Are Trying to Migrate
When it rains, worms will naturally try to migrate to another area. When doing this, they might have to cross over a sidewalk. While crossing they can get stuck there and die due to lack of food, dehydration from the sun.
They can also be crushed or stepped on by humans or even other animals. In other words, it could be that the worms were in the middle of traveling and instead died on the sidewalk.
4. They Are Trying to Escape a Predator
While this is just a theory, some experts claim that the sound of rain makes worms think a predator is coming, and therefore they crawl above ground to escape the predator.
In the meantime, they can be killed or die once they get on the sidewalk, which is why you see them there.
3 Ways to Get Rid of Dead Worms on the Sidewalk
If you notice a lot of dead worms on your sidewalk, it’s difficult to know what to do next. There are basically only three things you can do about the problem:
1. Wash Them Away
This is a simple solution to dead worms on your sidewalk. Simply take a hose and wash the worms off of the sidewalk.
This is an easy and fast solution. It only takes a few minutes to turn on your hose and wash away all of the dead worms on your sidewalk.
2. Sweep Them Away
You can also take a regular broom and sweep away all of the dead worms. This might take a little longer than washing the worms away, but it is still a very efficient method that works. You won’t have to remove the dead worms from the ground because eventually their bodies just blend into the soil.
3. Let Animal Predators Eat Them
The dead worms can eventually attract birds and other animals that will try to eat them. Birds around my home include Magpies, Kookaburras and Myna birds will eat the worms off the sidewalk when they see them.
Should You Take Worms Off the Sidewalk?
Worms can be removed from your sidewalk to keep it tidy. If you have the time worms should be pushed back into the soil when it dries out so they can try to crawl back underground.
If they are left there they can dry out and stick to the sidewalk and be more difficult to remove.
Does Salt Keep Worms Away?
Salt is very bad for most types of worms. Salt usually kills them in one of several ways. If you sprinkle salt directly on a worm, it affects the worm’s skin and causes it to shrivel up and die.
If you sprinkle salt in water that contains worms, it can kill them almost instantly. Even lower doses of salt can harm earthworms.
Higher doses can damage their respiratory system, while lower doses can affect their reproductive system. Regardless of the type of worms involved or how much salt you use, salt is not good for worms because it kills them.
Other Methods to Keep Worms Off Your Sidewalk
There are things you can do to keep worms off your sidewalk even after it rains. The best way is to install paving bricks two or more bricks high all around your sidewalk. This will reroute the worms and they’re less likely to come onto the sidewalk.
There are several reasons why dead worms can be found on your sidewalk, but the most common reason is that the worms are trying to escape the rain so they don’t drown. They come to the surface to get away from the rain and often die there afterwards.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.