How to Prevent Earthworms From Coming on a Sidewalk After It Rains

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While earthworms normally stay underground, they may invade your sidewalk after a storm.
While earthworms normally stay underground, they may invade your sidewalk after a storm. (Image: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Earthworms may be a sign of rich, healthy soil, but swarms of them on your sidewalk after a rainstorm aren’t so pleasant. Earthworms breathe through minute pores in their skin, and when it rains they flee to the puddle-free sidewalks and patios to survive. Earthworms on your sidewalk are unattractive and hazardous, as stepping on a worm may result in a serious fall. While you may not be able to completely prevent earthworms on your sidewalk, you can take steps to minimize their presence.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden fabric
  • Rake
  • Lawn sweeper
  • Landscaping bricks

Cover exposed soil with garden fabric. Dig out 4 inches of soil with a shovel and unroll the fabric over the ground. Cover the fabric with the soil you dug out, pressing down gently to compact the soil and hold the fabric in place. Garden fabric is tightly woven and most earthworms are too big to crawl through the fabric to reach your sidewalk.

Rake up loose leaves and lawn clippings, and dispose of them in a garbage bag or compost heap. Earthworms like to feed on and hide in lawn waste, so the fewer piles of decomposing vegetation you have on your lawn, the fewer earthworms available to invade your sidewalk.

Sweep your lawn with a lawn sweeper. Run the sweeper back and forth over your entire lawn, making as many passes as necessary to pick up stray worms. Earthworms come to the surface when the soil is too wet, and the sweeper will pick them up and dispose of them.

Edge your sidewalks with landscaping bricks. Stack the bricks at least two high along the entire edge of your sidewalks and around any other areas frequented by earthworms. The worms have difficulty climbing over the bricks and will avoid your sidewalk in favor of a more accessible area.

Tips & Warnings

  • The more often you sweep your lawn, the fewer worms you'll have to contend with after a storm.
  • Use caution when running the sweeper. The brushes turn at high speed and can injure someone if you run over sticks or rocks.

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