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?