Long used in southern states as fish bait, these five- to seven-inch long worms wound up in the soil and have made their way north. Scott Schirmer, the plant regulatory official for the Illinois Department of Agriculture, says nearly all of Illinois has been invaded and nutrients and moisture are being gulped up by the worms. Wild, forested areas are most susceptible. Home gardens, where the soil is regularly worked and replenished, fare better. Schemer tells WGN’s Steve Alexander you can’t get rid of the worms, but they can be managed. He also cautions gardeners to make sure they know where soil they add to their yards comes from.