Did you hear? The New Guinea Flatworm Is Near!
August 30, 2017
There are many species of bugs and insects all over the world. Often, we hear of new species that crop up in specific areas and we don’t concern ourselves to learn about that species because it’s not on our home turf. Well, now’s the time to read up on the New Guinea Flatworm because this toxic new species was just recently discovered in Loxahatchee, Florida and is causing a big uproar.
The flatworm is a dangerous new species that was accidentally introduced to the residents of South Florida about a year ago, through plant shipments out of Miami. The flatworm is about 2 inches long. It has a darker color along with an orange or tan colored line down the middle of the back. Like most South Florida pests, these worms are attracted to the water and moisture. Common places to find them in your yard are around air conditioning units, water sprinklers, hoses, and faucets. The worms can spread quickly as they are asexual insects and need little to reproduce.
It is important to wash your hands after gardening and to have children wash their hands after playing in the yard due to the chances of touching the worm, or touch a plant where the worm has been. The slime on the body of the worm can cause the skin to burn or cause an allergic reaction. The New Guinea Flatworm can transmit the deadly rat-lungworm parasite and can cause meningitis. The worm has also been spotted on fruits and vegetable plants, giving you another reason to wash your fruits and veggies before eating them! Experts say that the one sure way to kill the worm is by pouring boiling water around your yard. The hot water will dry the worm up. It is important to refrain from trying to use poisons or bleach because the worm may be immune to the chemicals, and they only thing you will be hurting is your yard. It is encouraged to call the FWC’s Exotic Species Hotline if you have spotted the worm around your home.
After a year in the United States, the worm has only spread throughout Florida and to Hawaii and no other state has had an encounter with this species. The FWC states that they still need to confirm the species of the worm in Loxahatchee by conducting a genetic analysis, but they do believe that it is the New Guinea Flatworm. As the worm starts to increasingly spread throughout South Florida, the EDD website updates a map to show areas where the worm has been found. There is also a page for residents to upload their pictures and reports of the worm.
There have been multiple sightings in areas around Boca Raton and Deerfield Beach. For residents living in those areas, Nozzle Nolen offers a lawn care pest control program that can help protect you from both dangerous and nuisance pests. It is always better to take preventative action before you run into trouble with one, maybe even multiple pests at a time. Call Nozzle Nolen today or visit NozzleNolen.com to request a free inspection today!
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