Nasty Invasive Worm in Missouri Only Gets Stronger if You Cut It
I know this will sound surprising to some, but most worms are helpful. This isn't one of those. It's a nasty invasive worm that has been spotted in Missouri and if you try to cut it, you're only making it stronger.
The University of Missouri Extension Service has a detailed description of why the invasive hammerhead worm is bad news if you spot one. They kill native earthworms and are "voracious, top-level predator" as stated by University of Missouri Extension horticulturist Kelly McGowan.
When you hear phrases like "voracious, top-level predator", that sounds a bit sensational, but this vile hammerhead worm can consume critters up to 100 times its own size. Yikes.
What do you do if you spot a hammerhead worm in your garden?
Perhaps you've seen some social media shares of people claiming to have spotted this worm again in Missouri. If you see one, don't try to chop it up or cut it. It has the strange ability to be able to grow a new head and tail on the remnants meaning you're helping it multiply which is definitely not a good thing.
The University of Missouri Extension Service says that the only known way to deal with ridding yourself of this worm is heating up the soil it's in. It can survive freezing temperatures, but not heat above 93 degrees. Go figure. This is me trying to figure out how to heat up soil.
The big question I ask is how big of a threat is the hammerhead worm in Missouri this year. I know they were confirmed in the state back in 2020 and 2022. In this case, better safe than sorry so keep your eyes open for any worm who's head looks like a hammer.