We recently heard from two readers, both curious about how to get rid of leeches in cattails and in a pond, respectively. We are happy to provide some information about leech removal for our readers!
Leeches are dark segmented worms that are a distant cousin of the earthworm. They use their suction-cup mouth and teeth to latch onto other organisms and simultaneously feed on their blood. There are over 700 different species of leeches, and the majority live in freshwater environments, like a pond. The presence of leeches in a swimming pond is especially annoying because of their latching behavior. However, if one of these creatures does latch on to you, it isn’t the worst thing in the world. In fact, many people don’t even notice when it happens. If it does occur, you can break their suction seal with your finger nails.
Leeches live in the debris in the bottom of a pond. The accumulation of muck provides a place that the leeches can search for food and hide from their predators, like fish. The first step to getting rid of leeches is getting rid of the debris. Our reader can use a rake to remove weeds, algae, decomposing plants, and whatever else is down there. Eliminating this debris will leave the leeches without a place to hide from the fish. Our reader should make sure his pond is fully stocked with fish, as nearly all freshwater fish enjoy leeches. He can also create a trap that will capture leeches. To make a trap, he should punch leech-sized holes in an aluminum can and bait it with raw chicken or fish heads, and place it in the shallow end of the pond. The leeches will enter the can in pursuit of the bait, but won’t be able to escape because of the burs from the hole-punching. Remove the can when it is full of leeches, and repeat until there are no more leeches.
To sum up, two readers asked us how to get rid of leeches. We have provided three different solutions to this problem!