This past weekend I shared on my social channels that I had discovered a hammerhead worm in one of our landscape beds at our residence in Central Arkansas. I was sort of surprised at first because I had never actually seen one in person before, only pictures online warning these predatory worms were making their way to the states. From what I’ve gathered, these worms have the ability to endlessly replicate themselves if you cut them in half, I can unofficially confirm this since I did just that –I’m still a kid at heart and enjoy such pursuits.
Another interesting thing about this species is that it does produce some type of mild toxin that can be an irritant to humans if you actually handle the worm. I can tell you that I personally handled this little booger with care when I found him but did make contact briefly w/ it initially. I washed my hands pretty quickly and haven’t had any issues.
So, why is this worm a big deal? It’s simple, it targets our good worms that are needed in our compost and soil to help our soil be fertile. I’m not sure how this compares on the “invasive species list” w/ other pests that have turned up recently like the asian carp, etc., but I can tell you that we really didn’t need another challenge this growing season in zone 7 (where we are later than normal).
Lastly, if you see one of these boogers in your landscape or garden, to get rid of them you will want to take some salt and throw it on them. Keep in mind that if you just smash or cut the worm in half it will only recreate itself and move on. Yeah, the whole thing is crazy…
I’ve reached out to our local extension agent to see if there was any way of knowing if these things could make their way into our compost bins, because this is my biggest fear. I have some whopper worms in my compost bin that do an amazing job breaking down organic material for me and I would sure hate to see them wiped out by these alien creeps… more to come!