How to Find Worms in Your Backyard: 7 Methods

How to find worms in your backyard

For whatever reason you might want to know how to catch worms in your backyard, I’ve put together a list of 6 methods that you can use to find backyard worms quickly and efficiently. 

Some of the most common methods of finding worms in your backyard include digging out the worms, using vibrations, attracting them with wet cardboard, using a flashlight, using soap to drive them out, using mustard water, or electrocuting them using a car battery (yes, sounds cruel, and not something I would choose to do). 

But whichever method you decide to use to find and catch backyard worms, you will need to wear latex gloves or similar (worms are slippery): buy on Amazon

I also recommend you get yourself a container which is two thirds’ full full of soil and damp leaves to put your worms into after catching them. Don’t forget to poke holes in the container for oxygen in. 

With that done, here are the best ways you can use for luring worms out of the ground in a backyard or garden.

How to find worms in your backyard         

1. Digging for worms

The most obvious and easiest way to find worms in your backyard is to just dig. 

For this, you need to select a moist or soft area of the ground to make it easier for you to dig, like near a water source. As you lift the soil from the ground, sift through it to find the worms because some may still be in between the soil. 

How to catch worms in your backyard
Worms will be found in muddy and wet backyards (Credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/worm-earthworm-ringworm-belt-worm-4763219/)

Some worms may resist and try burrowing back into the ground. Worms have setae, bristles that enable them to move smoothly through the soil, making it difficult to pull them out directly from the ground. 

To avoid the struggle and possibly killing them, dig around any worms that resist and ensure that you do not cut them. That loosens the soil and makes it easier to get the worm. When digging, you should also look under any logs and rocks around you. 

2. Lay down slabs and leave them

I don’t know why this works but trust me it does. It’s something I found out completely by accident: I left some patio slabs on the grass of my backyard lawn.

I came back 4 weeks later and picked up the slabs up. The grass was dead, and almost completely gone, but more interestingly was all the worms and worm burrows I found.

If you want to catch worms in your backyard and have more time on your hands, this worth trying!         

3. Using vibrations to find worms

To generate vibrations, you can use a method called worm grunting. The vibrations make the worms uncomfortable and force them to come to the ground. Sometimes it won’t be long before the die once they are above ground (here’s why).

I’ve also heard that the vibrations can mimic rain hitting the ground, making the worms come to the surface… which is why you see birds tapping the ground with their feet.

finding worms in backyard
Birds are the masters of finding and catching backyard worms, so if we can mimic their behavior we can quickly find our own worm stash! (Credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/animals-nature-bird-blackbird-worm-3329900/)

First, you need to hammer a wooden stake halfway into the ground, then run the blade of your handsaw along to produce the vibrations. Grunt for about 15 to 20 seconds and watch the worms come to the surface. 

You can also use a tool like this that’s available on Amazon.

For this method to be effective, you need to look for a place with worm castings or bare soil. 

I saw this method on a YouTube video that shows people how to find works in their backyard using the grunting method.

4. Catch worms in your backyard with wet cardboard 

This is a good method to catch many worms without any hard work. Worms spend the day in the soil and come up at night to feed or organic matter. 

All you need to do is wet a piece of cardboard and leave it on the spot in your yard where you think you might find worms. Worms love coming up after the rain, so the wet surface helps replicate wetness from the rain, and cardboard is a good piece for the worms to feed on. 

After a few hours, you will find worms under the cardboard, and you might not even need a shovel. To help you see, do not use a bright light. While earthworms can’t see, they are sensitive to light, and too much light will drive them back into the ground. 

With this method, you need to move fast because if the worms feel a lot of movement, they will go back into the ground. If this happens, you might need a shovel to loosen the soil and pick up the worms. 

5. Soap the worms out of the ground

Soap makes it hard for worms to breathe under the soil, immediately forcing them to the surface. Strange but true.

To find worms in your backyard using soap, firstly mix the dish soap into the water and pour it on the targeted area. To ensure it does not damage your lawn, test it on a small area first. Within a few seconds, you will notice worms coming to the surface for air. 

Since the soap makes it hard for the worms to breathe, you should rinse them off before dropping them into the collection bucket. 

Also, do not pour the soap water on a large area of the yard because worms will avoid that area for a long time. This method is perfect if you are not hunting for worms continuously.

You can see this being done in the video below:

6. Irritate them out with mustard powder 

Mustard powder is said to irritate worms and forces them out of the ground. You will need to mix up some water and mustard powder in a watering can and then sprinkle the mixture onto the targeted area. 

Just like with the soap mixture, first, rinse the worms off before dropping them into your collecting bucket. 

7. Electrocute the worms out of the ground

This is not something I would do, but various websites are explaining how to do it. 

It is very dangerous, and you should only do it if you are a qualified electrician and understand the risks. While it sounds lethal, it does not kill the worms. It only makes them uncomfortable and forces them out of the soil. 

For this, you need:

  • A car battery 
  • Jumper cables 
  • Two long metallic rods 
  • Rubber-soled boots 

First, push the metallic rods around two to three feet into the ground, then attach them to the battery using the jumper cables’ rubber grips. Then, attach the jumper cables to the car battery using the other rubber grips. 

That generates a shock to the ground, which drives the worms out almost immediately. Once you see fewer worms emerging, that means that you have caught most of them in that area. 

But, full disclosure: I am only telling you this for informational purposes. Please don’t try this at home.

More on finding backyard or garden worms

Where do you find worms in your backyard? 

One of the best ways to find worms in your backyard and the best spot to catch them is by looking for worm casts. These are tiny quarter-sized dirt piles on the yard. 

When worms feed on the organic matter in the yard, they excrete it in the form of those castings, which are usually loaded with nutrients. 

What do worm holes in a lawn look like?

You may notice a lot of holes in your yard, and some may be from dangerous animals. 

However, wormholes usually have a diameter of around six mm. They could be very deep, but if the soil is moist and cool, you might spot a worm in the first 30 mm of the hole. 

When is the best time of year or the best time of the day to find worms in your backyard?

You can spot worms in your garden all year round. However, the best season is during fall and spring because the temperatures are most favorable. Worms bury themselves deeper into the ground, around 16 feet under when the soil is too cold, dry, or hot. 

Where do you find worms in your backyard
Worms might come to the surface with some encouragement (Credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/earthworm-soil-dirt-macro-686592/)

Since worms are nocturnal, they love staying hidden under the soil during the day, which means that night-time is the best time to catch them. They are also more active at night because that is the time they come out to feed. 

What is the best weather for finding worms in a backyard?

Worms love staying in moist soil. Therefore, the best weather to find worms is immediately after it rains. 

How can I store my worms properly?

f you want to keep the worms alive for a long time, you can;

  • Keep them in a bucket with moist but not wet soil. 
  • Keep them cool, and don’t expose them to sudden temperature changes. 
  • Feed them constantly with things like vegetable peels, decaying leaves, moss, eggshells, or mashed potatoes. 
  • Do not keep different types of worms together. 

How do I attract more worms into my yard?

If you are a person who collects worms more often, you might notice that the worms in your yard or garden have reduced. That not only affects the number of worms you catch but also the fertility of your garden. 

Some of the things that you can do to attract more worms to a backyard for catching include; 

  • Add more compost and manure to the soil. 
  • Till your garden less often.
  • Avoid using chemicals on your soil. 
  • Leave more organic matter on the soil. 
  • Use mulch to keep the soil cool and moist. 
  • Water your soil more often, especially during the hot and dry seasons. 

You also need to ensure that your yard’s soil is loamy and has a pH of seven. However, worms can also thrive at a pH of five to eight.

Conclusion

There are many reasons why you might want to catch worms from your backyard. For example, you might want to use them as bait when going fishing for your child’s school project to add to a compost heap or to use as chicken food. 

Whatever your reason, I hope this guide to backyard worm catching has helped.

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Image in header via https://pixabay.com/photos/earthworm-soil-dirt-macro-686593/