How to Handle Encounters with Hammerhead Worms

Hammerhead worm in Virginia | Loyal Pest ControlThe Hammerhead worm is a fascinating flatworm with a head shaped like a hammer, which makes it unique. These creatures have a special ability to produce tetrodotoxin, a powerful neurotoxin also found in puffer fish and blue-ringed octopuses. If you happen to come across a Hammerhead worm, it’s crucial to remember not to touch it!

Identifying Hammerhead Worms

The last thing that any homeowner wants is Hammerhead worms infesting their yard. Before handling these worms or squishing them yourself, take the precaution of looking for some identifying features and characteristics of the worm.

  • A head resembling a hammerhead shark. Flat, wide, and with two lobes on either side.
  • Dark brown or grey in color.
  • Several inches in length and a flat body.

If you determine that you have Hammerhead Worms infesting your beautiful Virginian yard, calling Loyal Termite and Pest Control is in your best interest.

The Dangers of Hammerhead Worms

Direct contact with Hammerhead Worms may cause skin irritation in humans and pets. The effects might be even more severe if the toxins enter the body through a cut or an open wound. Pets can get very ill if they ingest them. Hammerhead worms are considered an invasive species. They can have negative impacts on local ecosystems and pose certain dangers. In places where Hammerhead Worms have made their way, they tend to decrease the numbers of earthworms and other soil-dwelling creatures that are indigenous to Central and Eastern Virginia. This shift can throw off the harmony of the ecosystem and have an impact on how nutrients move around in the environment. 

Salt Them, Don’t Slice Them or Squash Them!

When it comes to handling Hammerhead Worms, it’s recommended by experts to use salt rather than cutting or crushing them. These worms have a fascinating ability to grow back from their severed body parts. So if you were to cut or squash a Hammerhead Worm, each piece could potentially grow into a whole new worm. This might unintentionally make the problem worse by creating more worms instead of getting rid of them. Using salt is a safer and more effective way to deal with these invasive worms. Smushing or slicing Hammerhead Worms can also result in direct contact with their toxic secretions, potentially causing skin irritation or allowing toxins to enter your body through cuts or wounds.

Placing Hammerhead Worms in a plastic bag before applying the salt can prevent them from escaping. This containment method ensures that the worms don’t crawl away and continue to potentially impact the local ecosystem. Salt has a unique effect on cells through a process known as osmosis. When salt is used on Hammerhead worms, it disturbs the delicate balance within their cells and causes them to lose water, resulting in dehydration and ultimately leading to their demise.

Contact The Professionals! 

Hammerhead worms are difficult to control and eradicate once they have become established in an area. Their ability to reproduce asexually through fragmentation and their resilience to various environmental conditions make them challenging to manage. If you suspect the presence of Hammerhead Worms in your area, contact Loyal Termite and Pest Control now.