The state of Texas is home many different types of worms. Many are detrimental to plant growth and their roots. In fact, some worms can completely destroy a garden in Texas in a matter of days. However, there are other types of worms that benefit plants by turning over the soil and aerating it. They also consume decaying matter and leave behind waste that is full of nutrients that the plants thrive off of. Therefore, if you keep a farm or a garden in Texas, it can be important to identify worms so you know which ones are "good" and which are "bad."
Look at the size and color of the worm. If it has a golden color, has a hard, beetle-like shell and is small in size, it is the larvae of a click beetle, which is a wire worm. They feed on roots, stems and seeds that are planted in the soil. They can destroy a garden, especially by digging into carrots, potatoes and other roots, and hurting lettuce, corn and tobacco.
Look out for cutworms by looking at the worm's length. Cutworms are larvae of moths and can be black, brown or a creamy color. They can also be anywhere from 1 to 3 inches in length. They are not easy to identify, but if they fit into any of the above categories in appearance, you should be worried for your vegetable garden, as they kill most vegetables.
Identify red wigglers, which are tiny, reddish worms that look like pieces of thread. Red wigglers are beneficial worms for plant growth, as they aerate the soil. This improves the drainage of water and circulates oxygen for the plant roots. These worms don't consume or kill plants.
Find cabbageworms by looking for worms under and at the surface of green leaves. They look and act like caterpillars. They eat holes through leaves, especially dark ones.
Look for horn worms, which are very common in Texas. They are longer worms than most, as they are typically 3 to 5 inches long. They have a horn at one end. There are two subspecies of horn worms: the tobacco horn worm, whose horn is red; and the tomato horn worm, whose horn is black.
Identify grub worms by looking for white, short and thick worms that curl up when they are not eating. These worms go underground to consume at plant roots, often causing the plants to die.
Look at the worm's color, shape and size to determine if you're looking at an earthworm. It will be beige, grey or reddish grey. It will be thin and long; they are typically about three inches in length. Earthworms aerate the soil, bringing many benefits to plant life, and increase nutrient concentration in soil.
Mellisa Warren is a writer specializing in lacrosse, theater and philosophy, among other topics. She is completing her B.A. in philosophy at Wellesley College.