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How to Get Nightcrawlers Out of Your Lawn (Without Killing Them)

How to Get Nightcrawlers Out of Your Lawn (Without Killing Them)

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Are you having a big problem with your yard having too many worms? During certain times of the year, it might be pretty normal to have various nightcrawlers on your lawn, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t annoying.

If you want to get rid of these nightcrawlers, then there are actually several options to consider.

Read on to learn all about how to get nightcrawlers out of your lawn. Understanding the information below will allow you to make an informed decision about which nightcrawler removal method is right for you.

Once all is said and done, you won’t have to worry about nightcrawlers so much and you’ll be much more prepared to handle things.

Remember That Nightcrawlers Are Beneficial

Before moving any further, it’s going to be best to note that nightcrawlers are actually beneficial to your lawn in various ways.

Most people don’t seek to eliminate nightcrawlers unless they are doing a lot of harm to the lawn due to overpopulation. You want to have nightcrawlers in your yard because they help to aerate the soil and keep things healthy for your grass.

The only time where this becomes a bad thing is when there are just so many nightcrawlers that lots of them begin tunneling near the surface. This can lead to issues such as lumpy-looking lawns and that might be what is causing you to look up advice.

When nightcrawlers tunnel to the top of your lawn, it’s possible that they might leave behind piles of castings, but this can be handled without it being too big of a deal.

Having nightcrawlers come to the surface of your lawn is actually normal during certain times. For instance, when it rains, you’re likely to notice more of them than usual.

There are people who have too many nightcrawlers in their lawns, though, and you can take care of this.

Getting Rid of Nightcrawlers Without Killing Them

Now that you know that nightcrawlers are so helpful, you might wish to avoid killing them if you can.

You can potentially get rid of these nightcrawlers in a more peaceful fashion if you’re willing to put in some effort. This little method involves using some soap, warm water, rubber gloves, and a bucket.

What you want to do is to go ahead and coat your lawn with a mixture of warm soapy water. You can mix things up by putting ¼ cup of water in a five-gallon pail.

Once you’re ready, you’re going to want to pour this bucket of water on the areas of your lawn that are having nightcrawler problems.

If you’re having problems knowing exactly where your nightcrawlers are concentrated, then have no fear. You can usually tell which areas have too many nightcrawlers because the ground will be slightly uneven.

Sometimes the plants in the area or the lawn will be slightly yellowed as well due to the presence of so many earthworms.

What this does is it brings the nightcrawlers to the surface of your lawn. It might take several minutes for them to pop up, but you will definitely see them start to come up if you use this method. Put your rubber gloves on and then try to carefully grab the worms by hand.

You’re going to need to place the nightcrawlers into your now-empty bucket so that you can move them later. Get as many of the worms as you can so that you can find a better spot for them to be.

Some people will choose to kill the worms after putting them in the bucket, but it might be better for your lawn if you find a better spot for them where they can burrow deeper and continue to help with soil aeration.

Another option to consider is that you can use nightcrawlers as bait for fish. Many people like to go fishing and they often use live bait such as nightcrawlers to get the fish to bite.

If you plan on fishing soon, then keeping the nightcrawlers in your bucket and then going on a short fishing expedition might be nice.

Collapsing Worm Tunnels

It’s usually best to go ahead and collapse worm tunnels before you start having issues again.

Taking this precaution should keep you from having an overly high earthworm population in one area of your lawn too soon after removing the earthworms. To handle this, you’re going to need to grab your trusty rake once more.

A little bit of power raking should help you to collapse the worm tunnels that all of the earthworms have created. If you want to collapse the deeper tunnels, then it might be necessary to use something like a ballast roller.

This isn’t completely necessary in most cases, though, and you will likely get good results by just power raking your lawn.

Take the time to power rake your lawn thoroughly and it should collapse most of the worm tunnels. You will have an easier time keeping the nightcrawlers at bay if you make an effort like this.

Doing this in combination with removing the earthworms from the area will effectively eliminate your problem unless you have a severe issue on your hand.

If your lawn has a big problem with being uneven, then using a ballast roller will be much more worthwhile. Rolling your lawn with a ballast roller that is about one-third full will give you good results and make it possible to even your lawn out.

You want to wet the lawn before using a ballast roller and it can be beneficial to do that before power raking, too.


It isn’t generally recommended that you use pesticides to try to get rid of nightcrawlers. This is mostly due to the fact that most pesticides aren’t created with the intention of eliminating nightcrawlers due to how useful they are.

You still have options that can easily work for you, though, assuming that you would like to go the pesticide route. Just remember that this is only appropriate to do if you have an extreme nightcrawler population in your lawn.

Otherwise, you’re just harming your lawn due to eliminating the earthworm population and not allowing your lawn or soil to aerate as well as it should. Now that you know this, you can start figuring out how to make use of the proper pesticide.

Grub control pesticide is what you are going to want to purchase to get rid of nightcrawlers effectively.

This is going to work out well because it can eliminate the nightcrawlers without causing harm to your lawn. To get the best results, you should rake your lawn before applying the pesticide to it.

Find a rake that can scrape down deep so that you can get close to the crown of your grass. You’ll be able to scrape up the excess castings from the nightcrawlers this way and it won’t harm your lawn.

Next, it’s going to be advisable to water your lawn and make sure that the top three inches of your soil is moist.

With this done, you’ll be able to spray your lawn with pesticide using a hose. The grub control pesticide that you have purchased should come with instructions about how to use it.

You want to follow the instructions to the letter to ensure that you get the intended results.

How Often to Use Pesticides

Thankfully, you won’t have to use pesticides often even if you have a bad nightcrawler problem.

Generally, it’s going to be good to use the grub control pesticide in April and then once more in October. If you’re able to use it twice per year like this, then you should be able to keep yourself from developing a bad nightcrawler issue again.

You should do your best to keep using grub control pesticides specifically while also buying something that won’t harm your lawn. It might be necessary to ask for advice about which type of pesticide to buy if you’re unsure.

You shouldn’t have to use it more than twice per year and the application process is fairly straightforward without getting too confusing.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know more about your lawn and your earthworm problem, it’ll be easier to figure out what to do.

If you just have some earthworms coming to the surface after it rains, then it’s probably best to just ignore it. You only want to do something if you notice that your lawn is uneven or if you spot yellowing in specific places.

Of course, you might want fewer earthworms in specific areas just because you use your yard for recreational purposes, too. Moving earthworms will take a bit of effort, but it’s well worth it in the end.

Even if you do have an abundance of nightcrawlers, using the right pesticide is easy enough even if you don’t have much experience.

You have options when it comes to eliminating your nightcrawler problem and it’s up to you to decide what to do. It might not be necessary to go so far as to use grub control pesticides, but you can certainly look into things if you’re in need.

Your lawn will be healthy and look great so long as you can make a good decision based on your situation and the information that has been given above.


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