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31/03/2014 at 15:48

31/03/2014 at 16:07

the mucus can cause a reaction on human skin.  My boffin advised wearing rubber gloves when on 'safari'.  He also advised dropping them into a jar of bleach solution.  This also kills and is less smelly than salt water.

When they are ready to reproduce, they develop a lump.  The skin splits and one of the black eggs slips through the slit. It looks like a shiny black bead.  The egg contains up to 10 tiny flatworms which can survive  immediately.  They grow on until they split the egg and then go off on the hunt. 

01/04/2014 at 02:03
I knew what it was when I found one killing an earthworm last yr. It was wrapped around ot like a boa constrictor around it's prey. I lightly cultivated my veg beds that have been under black polythene for a few wks. I found lots, and promptly chucked them into a marg tub of salt. Slugs and shails get chucked onto the bird table, and the birds flock for them when I call them. 'gourmet dinner, come n get it'. But when I put them on the table, (the unsalted ones!) the birds left them alone. I thought that salt may do it as they are so slimy like slugs. However, in my well composted beds I found only one tiny earthworm.She was rescued to the compost heap, but may not have been the best place for her. However, yesterday, I took it into my head to re-align the bricks that edge my FRONT lawn, which entailed removing chunks of turf from the edges. I did find LOADS of earhworms and not one nasty NZF. (but loads of leatherjackets, too). The worms were gently put away from me into the freshly cutivated border soil, and the leatherjackets went to the birds. It is strange that I have no worms in the beds that used to be full of them. I try not to dig at all, just add compost for the worms to sort, which they usually do over winter, but this yr, a warm one, the compodt just sat, unmoved, even after I covered it. But my front lawn was full of good girls and nit one nasty git! Just 100 yds of gravel apart! Have to say, my soil in the beds has a 'lifeless' feel to it this yr. I have not even seen any slug trails anywhere nr my pak choi, and they have been totally untouched this yr. Will the nasties eat slugs, if they have finished off the worms? The only real sign of any life was ants. And I can't kill them, since I saw firsthand the intricacy of their nest when I wanted to use my well rotted turf pile. How they scurried to save their eggs and pupae, some carrying several at a time. 2 hrs wasted watching them alone, then the boys got home from school to be thoroughly bored by my fascination and awed narrative! Also, they have never harmed my plants or kids, and they do produce a lovely fluffy light loam, from turf. Straight  through the fine sieve, no bother. could maybe be as useful as the wee red wrigglers? I'll ask Edd!Anyway, how can I have the buggers destroying my organic, well fed veg beds, but not in my front lawn? Borders rarely fed, lawn likewise? I am now even going to wash the lawnmower before I take it into the front. I would hate to spread them.Could the worms migrate to escape the wee sods? The borders and lawn were quite dry (very stony soil), and usually I see few worms there. This is fascinating but very frustrating, too.
01/04/2014 at 10:20

That's really good advice. The more we know about them and the way they reproduce the better well be at getting rid of them. 

But has anyone else got some in their pond. These too give a stinging effect when picked up and they move really fast?

01/04/2014 at 10:32

I think they will be leeches Rayskip. They look very similar.




01/04/2014 at 13:32

I hope so. I found an adult NZ flatworm last autumn but no sign of any more, but I keep on looking! Thanks.

01/04/2014 at 13:37

I've never seen one, touch wood.

I think that the best reason ever for growing as much as possible from seed and not importing plants. 

Does anyone know if the eggs survive the composting process for the rubbish that is being sold back to us as recycled compost?

01/04/2014 at 13:41

 Tis forum has been very helpful. Thanks

01/04/2014 at 14:01

I do not think so fidgetbones.

Although some research is currently being done into their natural predators (not enough due to minimal funding), at the moment there is no known treatment for eradicating these worms. The best you can do is trap them, kill them by squashing, crush any eggs you find, and avoid swapping pot plants with others unless you are absolutely sure that the pot and rootball contains neither worm nor egg.



If flatworms are already in your garden

Do not move plants or soil unnecessarily. Infested or suspect potted plants can be treated by:

??? Removal of the soil from the root ball and re-potting in sterile pots and growing media.

??? Immersing the pot and root ball in warm (30°C) water for 40 minutes.

??? Placing the plants in a warm environment e.g. 30°C for 12 hours.

The last two treatments will result in the death of NZ flatworms. However, if egg capsules are
present or suspected it will be necessary to repeat these procedures after 14 days, so that any hatchlings are destroyed.

03/04/2014 at 00:17

I'm really glad of that advice, Edd, as I was hoping to send some hostas to another forum member, and plants down to the Somerset Levels. I have a large dog bath with hot running water, so will try the immersion process first. Good to see the eggs to know what to destroy, Thank You.

03/04/2014 at 01:22

I found one about fifteen years ago under a heavy pot Here outside Dublin.  I assume it came in with a bought plant.  Never found another here or on the allotment, tho the eggs seem oddly familiar, like berries.

03/04/2014 at 09:55

I've never seen one - hope I'm not talking them up - fingers are very crossed!!!

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