Hammerhead flatworms are not your common backyard garden worm. These slithering, slimy flatworms have a hammerhead sharklike head (therefore the identify) and are identified to ruin their victims by emitting a neurotoxin to stun them and an enzyme to liquefy them so they can be eaten.
Alright, we’ll allow you capture your breath now.
“These worms are really lengthy, and if they’re existing in your backyard garden or yard, you are not likely to miss one particular,” claims Katelyn Kesheimer, an entomologist with Auburn College and the Alabama Cooperative Extension Procedure. “Similar to other worms, they are far more energetic next a rain event, so you may well see them crawling about right after a downpour.”
Although hammerhead flatworms are not harmful to individuals, they can trigger a disturbance in your back garden, so here’s what you require to know if you face any of these creepy-crawly pests.
What are hammerhead flatworms?
Hammerhead flatworms occur from pieces of Asia and Madagascar but are now in the U.S. via the transportation of unique crops.
They are a style of land planarians that can range in duration from 10 to 15 inches. Distantly associated to earthworms, they are slimy and flat in profile with a 50 %-moon or crescent-formed head. They are normally light-weight brown or honey in colour with dim lines operating down their backs.
How hammerhead flatworms have an impact on your back garden
Worms, in general, are generally not risky to humans. However, these hammerhead flatworms do have a toxin that can result in pores and skin irritation, so you need to generally have on gloves when digging in your backyard garden, particularly after it rains. You should also preserve canine and other animals away from your backyard in the occasion that a hammerhead flatworm is existing.
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Given that hammerhead flatworms really like to prey on slugs, earthworms, and snails, they can threaten the native ecosystem of your garden. Earthworms are important for the perfectly-staying of your back garden due to the fact they support loosen compacted soil and convert organic issue into vitamins and minerals for plants.
“Earthworms aid add to soil well being, so we don’t want everything getting rid of individuals from our lawns or gardens,” suggests Kesheimer.
Indications of an infestation
Though hammerhead flatworms may possibly be existing in your garden and backyard, there are no apparent signals of an infestation outdoors of viewing a specimen. So keep your eyes peeled and constantly have on gloves when doing the job in your backyard garden.
Commonly, this style of worm likes sizzling, humid environments and is active at all instances of the year when the temperature is just suitable.
How to get rid of hammerhead flatworms
It can be alarming to see a hammerhead flatworm slithering in your property, and your initially inclination may be to smash it with a back garden tool. But bear in head that they reproduce asexually.
“Do not minimize them up! Fragments can regenerate into new worms,” claims Sydney Crawley, assistant professor of city and structural entomology at North Carolina State University. “Instead, area them in saltwater, liquor, soapy water, or one more abrasive remedy. You can also bag and freeze them.”
Crawley states you must not spray a solution—like saltwater—on the hammerhead flatworm in the lawn or garden for the reason that the remedy will also eliminate earthworms. As a substitute, you need to raise the flatworm out of the backyard to kill it.
“Use a adhere or other tool to elevate the hammerhead worm into a Ziploc bag in which you can incorporate and implement the saltwater to destroy it,” claims Jonathan Larson, entomologist and assistant professor in the extension system at the University of Kentucky. “Spritzing them with vinegar or citrus oil will also operate.”