Apparently worms are an invasive species that are destroying forest ecosystems in some Northern North American forests (like Minnesota, for instance). Discuss.
This article is really interesting, partly because it outlays the different types of worms and their suitability to vermicomposting but also because it discusses the ecological impact of releasing various types of worms into the wild. (The short version is that you’re fine as long as you’re using red wigglers, which is the best kind of worms to use for vermicomposting and is what most worm suppliers sell.) The idea of worms as an invasive species struck me as really odd.
It’s nice to know that red wrigglers aren’t invasive. Last time the worms-as-invasive-species meme went around, I didn’t see anything that broke it down by varieties and I felt vaguely guilty. Now I can go polish off my halo.
It doesn’t seem particularly odd that worms could be invasive species. They’re small, reproduce easily, and have a huge environmental impact. They live underground and can hide easily. Observe the change they make in gardens. It’s a positive change because we plant things that like the environment they create; something that evolved without them wouldn’t necessarily be suited to that environment. They’re small, so a systematic attempt to cull them from areas where they might be doing harm is going to be really hard if not impossible.
I’m a lot more surprised when I read that something like a kind of tree is invasive. They get fairly big before they reproduce; you should be able to just see them with your eyes and chop them down.