Alabama Jumpers are a unique worm and are a true earthworm. Rather than mainly stay near the surface they dig out tunnels allowing them to burrow down into the ground.
Most composting worms are not made to be let loose outdoors and will eventually die if not placed in the right environment. For instance European nightcrawlers can survive throughout the United States in garden areas that have a lot of organic material on the surface such as damp layers of leaves for them to go through without having to burrow down deep into hard packed soils.
This is why many people do not see any or only a few worms the following year when released in the yard, vegetable and flower garden areas.
The Alabama Jumper on the other hand can burrow down deep and the harder packed the soil, clay or sandy materials are the better. They can tolerate these harsher conditions due to a tougher outer layer of skin encompassing the worm. This helps them to survive year after year.
The other difference comparing most composting worms to the Alabama Jumper and other earthworms is their ability to burrow down deep to escape the extreme colder surface temperatures and taking advantage of the naturally warmer temperatures a few feet below.
The other method earthworms can use is called estivation, where they coil up into a slime covered ball which they produce and go into a sleep like state, similar to hibernation. Most composting worms such as the red wiggler or nightcrawlers cannot estivate but rather die when it gets too cold.
Of course as with any type of worm the environment needs to be correct, however the Alabama Jumper has proved to be probably one of the most if not the number one worm able to adapt too many conditions. Originating in the tropics of some Asian countries and adapting all the way up to northern New England within the United States that we have found thus far.
The Alabama Jumper aerates plant root systems by generating these burrows which they constantly travel up and down through. As with any other worm, they leave their trail of worm castings further enhancing any type of soil condition.
Previously thought to come up to eat during the evening hours and hunker down below ground during the daytime has been found to be untrue.
In circumstances where one may have mulch or other organic matter in the yard or garden areas which remain damp or heavily shaded areas, the Alabama Jumper worm will eat almost continuously.
In fact, in test bins I set up in controlled environments which were covered so as not to allow any light to penetrate over the past month, I found the Alabama Jumpers constantly eating at all hours of the day. With just 300 worms in each worm bin, I ended up feeding them half a cup of food per day or equivalent to approximately a one gallon container of food per 300 worms over one month’s time.
I ran this experiment only after examining the Alabama Jumpers outside under some pine trees. The Alabama Jumpers would be active all day long in the shade as long as the pine needles on the ground were damp to wet. Once the pine needles were permitted to dry out, the worms would burrow below the surface and come back up only at night once the sun set.
So if you are looking for the perfect worm to release outside in the yard and garden areas to assist in aeration and soil enhancement, the Alabama Jumper is what you want.