There could be any number of creepy crawlies living just under your feet at this very moment, that thankfully go relatively unnoticed most of the time. However, there are those few exceptions that are not only impossible to miss, but also conjure up feelings of absolute terror and dread. This monster of a creation is living in your backyard and takes a particular liking to greenhouses across the United States, but not to worry, these abominations live on a diet of other subterranean lifeforms… including their own!
The Virginia Wildlife Management and Control received a strange call on their hotline about a weird looking snake found outside the home of a resident in Midlothian, VA. When the team got there, they discovered a foot long worm with a crescent shaped head. Apparently, much like earth worms, they can regenerate their limbs after being cut, with both sides inheriting this regenerative trait. Further adding to the horror of their tremendous size, and voracious appetite. These “Hammerhead Worms” feast on various organisms found in soil, including the common earth worm, but when faced with starvation, have been known to consume themselves! The Hammerhead Worm hails from Asia, and is completely invasive to the United States, but they have been spotted all over the country since 2013. In fact, the first known sighting of these worms outside of their homeland was in an ecologically diverse green house located in the Kew Gardens of London in 1878. From this initial migration they were given their scientific name, Bipalium kewense, after the tropical greenhouse they were spotted in. Since the early 90’s, these flatworms have been slowly migrating through France and other French colonial territories, including most of Europe, and likely northern Africa as well. This species of worm is known to love warm, humid environments, much like the native conditions here in the U.S. but you can breathe a sigh of relief if you have a specific aversion to nocturnal bugs, as they are thought to be relatively rare to the continental United States.
Pest control experts stress that this critter is completely harmless to human beings, but ridding them from your home garden only requires some everyday household items. For one, you can use salt to eradicate the worms, or orange essence to completely exterminate the population of invasive cannibals once and for all. Whichever method you choose, you should double check the nutrient levels of your soil before and after, to make sure that you are not damaging any flora you may want to keep around. It doesn’t seem like this gargantuan worm is going anywhere in the foreseeable future, so we may just have to adapt to our new neighbors, but knowing your enemy is the best way to defeat him in battle.