“I found a bunch of these worms on a golf course green. Can you tell me what they are?” asks this reader, who sent in a lovely photograph of a tiny, segmented creature. The creature is black in color, with a long, tubular body, and looks like a millipede.
Millipedes are arthropods that live underground where they feed on leaf litter, animal waste and other decomposing materials. They are commonly found in people’s backyards and gardens, but they are not considered pests. It is actually to the contrary; millipedes are environmentally beneficial and are often welcomed by gardeners. This is because they serve a similar function as the earthworm, in that after consuming organic matter, they excrete it as nutrient rich fertilizer that is beneficial to the growth of the plants that grow in the given area.
One can tell if they have found a millipede by turning them over and checking for the dozens of legs that sprout from their body’s underside. In addition to this, millipedes will typically curl up into a ‘C’ shape when disturbed. The fact that this one is sitting calmly in our reader’s hand shows that it trusts him, which is a good sign! Or they are simply used to humans, since they live at the golf course. Either way, our reader should not worry about the presence of millipedes at the golf course, as they are not harmful in any way to humans, and will not destroy the terrain, but will actually help keep the grass alive. Of course, if our reader thinks that the presence of millipedes will in some way impede his game, there are ways to reduce the numbers of millipedes in an area without maiming or killing them. By simply reducing the amount of spots they can hide (they like to hide under piles of leaves or in the cracks of a mound of rocks), one can substantially reduce millipede populations in that area.
In conclusion, the “worms” our reader found on the golf course are actually millipedes. As we said, millipedes are friends of the environment, and are harmless creatures, so they are not to be feared, nor killed. We hope that this article finds our reader well and that it has provided some insight into the creatures he has been finding on the golf course.
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