How to Bring Earthworms to the Surface

Earthworms image by Ana Dudnic from

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • 2 2-by-4 or 1-by-1-inch wooden boards
  • Extension cord

Earthworms are sometimes sought out as fishing bait or by simply curious kids. But finding earthworms on the surface can prove tricky if there aren't compost piles or rocks to look under. A few techniques for drawing earthworms to the surface are likely to yield the best results when performed in a dirt environment, such as a backyard or creek area. Areas without a lot of topsoil may have ground made up mostly of rock and therefore may not have a large population of earthworms.

Watering the ground can help bring earthworms to the surface.
water drop and water rings image by glgec from

Water the ground so so it is either damp or soaked. The amount of water used may determine how long it takes for the earthworms to reach the surface (i.e., the more water used, the faster the earthworms may breach the ground). Watering can be accomplished either by a timed sprinkler system or by using a hose. Either way, the earthworms may take a few hours to arrive at the surface.

Take a 2-by-4 or 1-by-1-inch wooden board and stick one end into the ground. Take another board of the same size and rub it back and forth on the exposed side of the board stuck in the ground. The vibrations should cause earthworms to come to the surface. This method's effects may be limited only to the ground immediately around the board through which the vibrations are traveling.

Electricity may stimulate an earthworm to breach the ground.
electricity image by Mat Hayward from

Buy an extension cord and strip the end without the plug so the wires are showing. Plug the chord into a socket and stick the exposed end into a spot in the ground where earthworms might be. The electricity should cause the earthworms to surface. This method may work better on dampened ground, since water is a great conductor for electricity.


  • Using a bright light to look for earthworms at night may cause them to scatter. To negate this effect, cover the end of a flashlight with a sock or panty hose.