A Garden Bad Guy: The Hammerhead Worm

My youngest daughter was playing outside, rolling over logs and railroad ties trying to find bugs to catch, when she discovered a funny looking worm. She studied it for a minute, and then brought it to me in great excitement.

“Mommy! Look at this funny worm I found!”

I was just as fascinated as she was. As it inched along, it stretched from just a couple inches to nearly six inches long!  What a strange worm, I thought. It’s head resembled that of a hammer-head shark.

Of course I set straight to researching what it was. Not really knowing what to look up, I googled “hammerhead worm”. Sure enough, Wikipedia has a whole article devoted to Bipalium, loosely referred to as the “hammerhead worm”.

What I found out next wasn’t so exciting.

Although they’re harmless to people, they can be devastating to a garden. Hammerhead worms are considered an invasive species. They prey on earthworms, and can completely decimate a garden if they aren’t taken care of. Supposedly if you try to squish them or cut them they’ll multiply and grow into more worms. And other animals don’t like to eat them because they secrete a foul tasting slime.

Great. Another garden pest to worry about.

We’ve been collecting them in a jar and sprinkling salt over them, which kills them very quickly. I’m afraid to try feeding one to my chickens ’cause if they peck it into two pieces and one gets away it might just turn into a whole new body.

I thought I’d share so you guys can be on the lookout for hammerhead worms around your home and garden. If you find one, sprinkle it with salt or drown it in a jar of water.

This is the first I’ve ever seen or heard of hammerhead worms. Have you ever seen one? Are they a problem in your garden?

Kendra
About Kendra 1123 Articles
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.

10 Comments

  1. I’ve been seeing them in increasing numbers for the past year. Now they are all over my yard. I had no clue what they are until now. No wander I can’t find earthworms in my garden, even after planting a ton of them!

  2. Found one under a brick holding a bag of topsoil closed. I allowed it to go on it’s way not having any idea how invasive they are. Lots of rain after a dry spell must have brought it out. Unless of course it came it the bag of topsoil!
    Greensboro,NC

  3. I have found two of them in my garden. I threw the first one in the trash, but as I was digging and found the second when I cut it half. So unfortunately I left it in the soil but I didn’t know that they prey on earthworms.Now I know how to eliminate them thanks to your info. I am in Greenville SC

  4. we found what looks like a few hammerheads wrapped in and around the netting of the skimmer net in our pond. They have a brown& beige stripped body with a hammerhead head. They obviously don’t drown, so what are they? We’re in Charlotte NC.

  5. Ugh just saw one this morning in San Mateo, CA. Wish I would have researched before acting. I took a little video… then tossed it by the back fence. Wish I could have a do over!!

  6. Oh Yuck! I’ve not seen one. I live in WV. Not sure if they’ve shown up around our area but I will be looking into more info!

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