November 19, 2023

How to Do the Worm Job in Your Garden

Invasive Hammerhead Worms are Stalking Earthworms, a WSJ Article Says

The hammerhead flatworm, native to tropical and subtropical areas, stalks and devours the “good” earthworms that benefit your garden (and the rest of the world’s). Sensory organs on its underside help it detect prey. Once it pounces, the front section of its unusual hammerhead head expands to pin down its prey and the rest of its body clamps down on top of it. It can then secrete a neurotoxin called tetrodotoxin, which is deadly for most other animals, including humans.

If you encounter a hammerhead worm in your garden, don’t chop it into bits, as the severed body may regenerate to make more worms. Instead, experts suggest dumping salt or vinegar directly on them to kill them. You should only attempt this if you can catch the worm in something like a plastic bag or a glass container. This will prevent it from escaping or crawling away, and it will make it easier to apply the solution.

Many elementary school classes keep worm bins and use them for composting. The bins are a great way to teach kids about nature and the environment while allowing them to contribute to sustainable living. It’s important to remember that a worm bin requires certain elements for the worms to thrive, such as moisture, food, darkness and warm (but not hot) temperatures. Newspaper strips, leaf litter and vegetable matter are good additions to the worm bin.


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