Earthworms Taking Over Driveway

We have what seems to be hundreds of earthworms that appear on our driveway, either dead or still living, throughout the day. Why does this happen, and how do we control them?” -Brenda

After a rain, or when humidity is high, it’s very common to see earthworms making their way to the surface of the earth, including driveways and sidewalks. Earthworms breathe through their skin (they don’t have lungs), and they require a balanced level of moisture in order to survive.

When the soil is too dry, they burrow deeper to find moisture. When the soil is wet, they move closer to the surface. When there is adequate surface moisture or humidity, they venture out aboveground and look for new places to burrow. The wet weather of spring and fall seems to bring them out in droves.

Earthworms are one of those mixed blessings in the yard and garden. One acre of healthy soil can have as many as a million earthworms!

It’s GOOD to have earthworms – they aerate and enrich the soil, move nutrients around, digest and break down organic matter, and improve drainage and soil texture. In fact, earthworms do a better job than any farm or garden practice, and the gardener gets to reap the benefits.

However, the downside of having a healthy earthworm population is that they are constantly underfoot during wet weather.

Because earthworms are considered beneficial creatures, most pest-control products have been designed not to harm them. There are currently no products specifically for controlling earthworms, and it’s really not recommended to try to kill them at all.

So, the problem of earthworms on the driveway is one that we have to learn to live with (by stepping over them, or sweeping or rinsing them off), rather than control. Inviting more birds to your yard may help – I have several large robins in my yard that are constantly gorging at the earthworm buffet, and I’ve never seen a worm left behind.

For More Information

How to Identify the Cause of Holes in Your Lawn (article)



  1. Julie,

    Why would this happen when the weather is dry? I went outside this morning to find the drive, sidewalk, and street covered in worm jerky. My neighbors drives and sidewalks are also affected.

    I’m used to seeing this after a rain. I’ve never seen it without rain nor have I seen such a number of the poor little creatures.

    Thanks for any info you can share,

  2. Julie,

    Like Leslie, I too had the same occurrence with the earthworms this morning. When I went outside at 6:30 AM there were hundreds of worms all over my driveway and sidewalks, as well as those of all my neighbors. My property seemed to have the most though, but the worms were spread all around the cul-de-sac I live on. If you have any idea on what happened, please let me know. Thank you very much.

  3. Three weeks ago we had our driveway dug up and repaved with tar. We now are noticing earthworms in our driveway something we never had before. Could this be the reason. Were they disturbed? Hopefully you can answer this for us. Is there a way we can rid of them. Thanks so much.

  4. Ive lived in my home for 22 yrs . this is the first yr that the earthworms hav come out in thousand after every rain. its amazing they form balls of hundreds if not thousands. They climb the garage doors and fill the spaces. Ive never seen so many at one time in my life. They are all around my house afetr the rain. They seem not to go back in the ground but dry up and die. You would think they would then lessen in numbers but they have increased with every rain. I dont use chemicals on my property so I dont get whats going on. It seems it might be a health hazard and would like some advice how to stop this occuance

  5. I used to see many earthworms in my driveway after a heavy rain. I no longer see any earthworms and wonder why. Any answers?

  6. we have had lots of rain in north carolina this year . This morning I went out to get the news paper and there were hundrens if not thousands of dead earthworms in the driveway. I guess I will get the blower and blow them of the drive.

  7. I recently found 100s of earth worms on paved drive way. Either dead or dieing. I have lived in NC all of my life and have never seen this occurrence. I thought and still maybe think something is going on.
    A week later near my neighborhood at night while walking I came across 100s of centipedes crawling but still alive. I have never seen that many at once. I just wonder if it means something. Maybe, earth quake? curious.

  8. We live in NC also and I am seeing the dead worms in my driveway after a rain and without rain. My neighbor up the hill does water his lawn most evening, so I assume that is why. I am wondering if planting some bushes on the edge of the driveway will prevent them from crawling to the driveway?

  9. We have seen a lot of dead worms on the driveway especially after rains. We have never seen this before and we bit worried about it. Is there anything that can be done? North Carolina

  10. I have lived here on a slab for 6 months, Pittsboro, NC; lived in Southport, NC (3 1/2 hrs south)& never had these problems…Just working on an ant infestation & now I wake up to hundred of earthworms all along both garage doors. What do I do to get rid of them permanently? I can’t stand all these issues. Do tell me what to expect spring/summer. Thank you.

  11. I don’t believe what i have are earthworms because they have a deep brown color and when you step on them they now excrete a greenish black then is very hard to sweep away. They only look to be about an inch long. They come out at night and love to hide under anything that is dark such as cars and pots and etc. They also like the patio and driveway. Please respond to this site or email me at I am going bugging.

  12. I would think that the birds would have a feast on our driveway when this happens but not a one is eaten? Even the crow who would seemingly eat anything can’t be bothered?

  13. Here in East Texas, we too, are having an explosion of driveway earthworm sightings in the morning hours. Reading your explanation of increased movement to the surface during periods of high humidity does seem to help me understand why so many more are surfacing. We have had very humid conditions this spring and early summer. I am sure my neighbors would die laughing (or worse!) if they knew I often spend 5 minutes in the morning mumbling “Save the earthworms!” as I try to “rescue” those poor guys that still show signs of life from an untimely concrete baking.

  14. I’m here in Macon GA and the worm invasion on the driveway this morning was massive. I don’t understand, I’ve lived in this house 12 years and have never had a worm issue. It’s just so many it’s gross. I too have tried to rescue some to the front yard but way too many today. HELP…any ideas???

    • We are they only house on our block to have this happen. We are also the only house to have our yard aerated in the Spring. However it happen this morning September 21st. CRAAZZZZYYY!

  15. Hi,

    We have a huge problem with earthworms this year in Northern California due to high amount of early rains. However, I’m most puzzled by the fact that these (2 kinds: small – about 1″ or less & large, common, brown) earthworms not only occupy the driveway but try to get inside the house!!! Every time there’s a heavy rain I have to sweep hundreds of (mostly the smaller black ones) off the threshold, between the screen door & main doors. I understand all that has been said in this thread about their movements, etc. but why are they coming inside?!?

    We often keep the main door open during the day (despite the rain.. it’s CA so it’s quite warm).. and I have to literally sweep them off the indoor carpet! Arghhhhh!!! I hate creepy crawlies IN THE HOUSE!!! Still, I’m loth to kill these as they’re beneficial to the soil, but come on… they are not welcome inside!

    I can’t stop wondering why are they even heading indoors, towards the warmth, when there’s an empty parcel next to our house, a driveway & then small wedge of soil (with a fig tree) on the other side of drive. I really can’t understand this & it’s extremely annoying – even more so because I’m disabled & sweeping them is no light task for me.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have capabilities to hose them off.. and anyway, how to that when for example I found one way inside the house today, crawling on the [berber] carpet.. and dozens on the aforementioned threshold. If it was just one or even a few – I’d think they’re lost, but this is happening repeatedly DURING – NOT AFTER – each HEAVY rain this fall (light rain = no earthworms!).

    This might be a silly question, but could they be drawn to the smell of cat food, which is kept near the door?

    Any advice how to keep them from coming indoors would be much appreciated, thanks!

  16. We have found a way to rid this worm problem. You can either use salt to put in the cracks or put salt directly on them. It kills them instantly. Or you can put full strength bleach in your sprayer and just spray all around your carport. It kills them instantly also. We get them every year. I mean we have millions of them and poof they’re gone.

  17. Tonight I was walking through my yard and must’ve seen thousands of worms throughout the entire lawn. I’ve never seen anything like it. I live in the Midwest (Illinois) and I even joked tonight about charging people by the hour to come fill buckets for fishing bait. Every step I took I would see dozens more. Is this normal or have I gone clinically insane?

  18. My husbands mountain cur dog take great delight in eating worm jerky baked by the hot sun, bleh, yuck to us… Breeds said she’s craving protein perhaps…well it’s cheaper than expensive scientific engineered dog food.

  19. I want to have millions of earth worms! I want to harvest them to bring to my chickens! How can I get that to happen? I live in N.W. Oregon and it rains quite a bit, but I have not had the bounty some of the writers below are experiencing. We have lots of land that is just good earth. I have a few compost bins. Maybe there are worms in them! I want to set it up so there are LOTS! Where could I find more data on how to get a lot regularly?

  20. Seriously? I’m surprised that after scrollin’ for days… Just gave up to add my 2 cents.

    At least SOMEone should’ve mentioned pesticides. Not one person on here has had their yard sprayed… And observed the same day is probably when the worms have emerged, usually after running the sprinkler system.

    They were fine at some point before… What’s changed? It seems we have yet another case of selective consideration and ignorance. Juuuuust pointing out the truth; it isn’t practical to merely point out a problem without gesturing to a form of a solution.

    • LOL! This is such a weird and condescending comment! At least learn how to write properly if you are going to play the condescending Mum!

  21. I also have that problem. I pour a line of salt along my porch & driveway. They die when they touch the salt. I know they are animals blah blah blah but it’s disgusting!

  22. I would have to consider the possibility of more pollutants/acid/base in the rain, which poisons the worms. They come to the surface and try to escape, only to dry up and die in the process.

  23. I hate worms, they may be great for healthy soil, and a delight for birds and cats, just stay out of my way…salt is the solution for me. i sprinkle salt to keep them out of my site, that kills them also

  24. I have lots of earthworms on my driveway after it rains. I looked at all my neighbors driveways and they don’t have earthworms on theirs, while mine is covered with them. My driveway is the only one in the neighborhood with earthworms littering it. I live in Florida, and summer is our rainy season. It rains nearly every day during the summers. We get rain intermittently during the other times of the year. I have noticed that the worms do not come on to the driveway during the summer months, even with the daily rains. It is only during the fall, winter, and spring months that they do. I have racked my brain to find the cause. My current theory is that the worms are attracted to the driveway by Clorox. I believe I am the only person in the neighborhood who uses Clorox to clean the driveway. For some reason, I believe, the worms are attracted to an ingredient in Clorox. I am also confirmed in that theory by a similar problem my brother has. Only, it is his swimming pool that the worms invade when it rains. Could it be the chlorine that is attracting earthworms?

  25. I have many worms on my driveway which runs all around the house. I have never seen this before and am worried they might get onto my puppy which I have recently bought. How do I get rid of these worms they are coming through the tarmac around the house.

  26. I get lots of earthworms on my driveway when it rains. Huge nightcrawlers., small ones, all sizes. I either pick them up with my hand or carefully brush them into a dustpan and then move them to the center of the lawn. They are beneficial to your lawn, so why are many of you wanting to kill them? The worms were there before you were, so let them live.

  27. It’s a myth that earthworms are good for the soil. Get some nice soil. Put it two big flower pots. Put lots of earthworms in one and make sure none get in the other. In fall when you pour out the soil, the one with earthworms will,have big hard lumps of dirt. The other soil will be loose. Earthworms eat the organic materials and leave the clay. I hate them. I have forty years of experience with earthworms. They destroy perennial flower beds in about five years. And I have to continuously add new good soil to my vegetable garden. My gardening neighbours will tell you the same thing. Maybe some species of earthworms are okay. But if you would like some for your garden, I can certainly supply them. I pick them them and drown them.

  28. I have the same problem on Houston on a patio. It is absolutely disgusting. Had to throw away a patio rug. Used chlorax spray, and will try salt. Worms are not critical as most of the area is concrete/pool landscaped. It must have to do with the mulch or soil below. Extremely grossed out and want them to go away!

  29. God designed earthworms as part of His plan for Earth to be a lovely long term home for us humans.
    He made them able to digest all sorts of plant material and fresh dead meat – obviously god designed the lower orders with limited longevity unlike we humans who are designed to live forever.
    Earthworms only eat living plants if there is no dead plants to eat – so I tell people to leave clippings and fallen laves and flowers around the plants so the worms will come and eat them and recycle the nutrients.

  30. I have lots of earthworms outside even crawling on the walls of my home.Disgusting the walls are covered and if they’re close to the door they end up inside what can I do

  31. I too have worms that come out in full force from the lawn. During the day I can go in my backyard and the top of the grass has worms moving around. It’s disgusting. They crawl off the lawn to my brick patio and crawl all over where my 5 dogs try to eat the crawlers. It’s a nightmare. I never had these worms before but have had them since I had a new backyard put in about 4 years ago. Maybe they used a soil that carries these worms?

  32. I noticed that after I applied Grubex to kill the grubs in my lawn, the earthworms disappeared. Temporarily, I’m going to try spraying some bleach around the garage and driveway per Beverly (04/14/15) or maybe some salt in areas away from vegetation. I was wondering if Ortho Bug b Gone would work?

  33. I applied a generous coating of 12 – 12 – 12 fertilizer to my lawn. The next day it rained and there were no earthworms and no centipedes. Evidently, the critters don’t like fertilizer but my grass sure does!

  34. Today in Jackson Mississippi September 11 2017, I see several dead earthworms outside of sidewalks.
    It has not being raining for more than a week.

  35. Yep, pain in the butt! But Early in morning, before it gets really hot, I use a plastic cup to pick up as many as i can see and dump them in the dirt and leaves where my washer drains. Hoping they find a happy home and out of my driveway for the rest of the day!

  36. We had hundreds of dead rain works on the driveway this weekend. No rain for weeks now and no pesticides used. We are near NW Atlanta, Ga., any ideas what would cause a mass die off? Full moon?

  37. I would be so irked if I had to deal with massive amounts of worms. Why do they come out? I would like to know why. I don’t think they are useful to gardens, but my chickens love them. I wish I knew how to gather loads of them. I could save tons on chicken feed!

  38. It is a real shame that nature is such an inconvenience to a lot of you. I would suggest we (two leggers) are more of an inconvenience to nature than the other way around!

  39. SOLUTION: pour a line of salt along your porch & driveway, or use a salt-encrusted Hessian rope that’s been soaked in very strong and briny salt water and lay that along your edges where they mostly can get in. That rope could also be regarded as a nautical theme, if you wanted to see it that way.

  40. Lately, I see earthworms coming in my driveway after heavy rain. is salt be a solution to stop them from crawling in. Thanks

  41. We have hundreds of these creepy crawlies. I never minded them before but now our yard is infested. I believe one of my doxies got a horrible case of roundworms from eating earthworms. If the dirt has been contaminated with roundworms at some point and the earthworms consume it they are now carriers of the parasite. It’s like a vicious circle. They have to go!

  42. Could it be something to do with the vibrations of the earth since we know worms hear by vibration…or maybe there is something evil lurking below us…just below the surface?


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