Native to Asia, you will find hammerhead worms all over the world. Featuring half-moon shaped head, the worms grow up to 50 centimeters. Since they are nocturnal, you are more likely to find them at night.
You can also come across them in the morning on rare occasions. You will find them on the top of soil like on your lawn or garden mostly after it has rained.
What you will learn
- 1 Is the hammerhead worm harmful to humans?
- 2 How do you get rid of hammerhead worms?
- 3 Are hammerhead worms poisonous?
- 4 Should you kill hammerhead worms?
- 5 What if you have a large area?
- 6 How to find hammerhead worms
Is the hammerhead worm harmful to humans?
No, hammerhead worms aren’t harmful to humans, but they are incredibly toxic to earthworms, which they feed on. The worms pursue the earthworms, capture them and hold them in place with their muscles and sticky secretions.
The worms then secrete their enzymes on the earthworms that dissolve their body. The hammerhead worm then sucks the liquefied tissues into its body.
Earthworms have plenty of benefits for your garden. They help create humus that holds the soil nutrients in place for plants to grow.
Earthworm excrements and castings are rich in phosphorus, potassium, nitrogen, and other minerals necessary for healthy plant growth. The worms also bind iron, calcium, and sulfur to the soil particles.
When hammerhead worms kill earthworms, you don’t have healthy soil to grow your plants on, so it’s imperative you get rid of them.
How do you get rid of hammerhead worms?
To protect your earthworms, you need to get rid of the flatworms. Luckily, there are plenty of techniques you can use to achieve it.
One of the mistakes you shouldn’t make is to try to chop them up or smash them.
This is because the worms will regenerate into new hammerheads, increasing their population. For you to completely get rid of the hammerhead worms, you should completely dissolve them.
Some of the effective treatment options include: citrus oil, vinegar and salt. You should apply the products directly to the hammerhead worms.
Avoid spreading the products around the soil where you find the worms as this won’t dissolve the parasites completely.
Are hammerhead worms poisonous?
The worms aren’t toxic to people, but they are toxic to other creatures as they release neurotoxins. While this is the case, you shouldn’t eat them as they contain tetrodotoxin, a toxin found in putterfish and other marine animals.
There are no research studies that show that toxins are harmful to humans when ingested, but you shouldn’t eat them.
Should you kill hammerhead worms?
If you want to have a healthy garden, you should kill these planarians. As mentioned above, you can’t kill the worms by splaying products in your general garden area—you have to spray every worm until you kill the entire population.
As you might guess, this isn’t an easy fete.
The best way of going about it is designating a special day when you should go hunting for the worms—preferably in the morning after a heavy rainstorm.
At this time, the worms are more likely to rise to the soil surface, so applying the killing product will most likely get them directly.
There are plenty of products you can use to kill the worms. The most common ones being:
It’s the most popular method of controlling the worms. Get the citrus oil from your local store and try to apply it directly on the worms. To get rid of the worms, apply the citrus oil at least once a week.
If you aren’t sure whether you have killed the worms, check for their eggs. The eggs resemble red or black cocoons. If present, remove them and obliterate them.
Vinegar is an excellent weed and plant killer where it works by withdrawing moisture from the worm, so the worm dies from dehydration.
Since hammerhead worms need moisture to breath, the acidity from vinegar will cause the moisture to leave their bodies, resulting in death.
Applying vinegar directly on the lawn or garden will kill the plants. To avert this, collect as many hammerhead worms and place them in a bottle.
You should then pour highly concentrated levels of vinegar into the worms, and they will dry.
You can also pour a bottle of highly acidic vinegar into an empty spray bottle and spray it directly at the visible worms, taking care not to spray the plants. You may have to spray several times to kill all the worms.
Hammerhead worms don’t thrive in acidic conditions, so when you apply the acid directly on them, they are bound to die. You can easily find boric acid from your local store or online.
To get the most from the acid, you have to apply it 2-4 weeks to completely get rid of all the hammerhead that might be present.
What if you have a large area?
If you have a large area, you can’t use the same techniques you use when you have a few yards of the garden. You need to come up with ways of getting rid of the worms on a large scale. Some of these ways include:
While they aren’t as toxic as vinegar and other acidic products, they are highly effective at getting rid of the worms when you do it right.
When you apply soap on the garden, the soap smoothers the worms, so they are unable to breathe which eventually kills them.
You can buy already prepared soap sprays in your local store or prepare them in your home.
They are heavily used as pesticides that target the nervous system. When you apply them on the worms, they interact with the worm enzymes, disrupt the nerve impulses and eventually kill them.
When properly applied, they are highly effective, but you should be cautious when applying them so that you don’t ingest them.
Obtained from a neem tree, neem oil is poisonous to hammerhead worms. The beauty with it is that it doesn’t kill grass or other plants on your garden.
For you to heave an easy time getting rid of the worms using this method, invest in a high-quality oil.
How to find hammerhead worms
For you to find the worms, you need to understand their behavior. The worms are photo-negative (light-sensitive) and need high humidity.
Because of this, they often move and feed at night. They prefer living in cool, damp places such as under rocks, shrubs, and logs. So these are the best places to find them.