“Small, thin, black worms” of approximately 1-2-inches have been showing up in our reader’s backyard. This is a new occurrence for our reader, as it has only been happening for the past “couple of months”, and our reader wonders if they are “good worms or bad worms.”
In addition to showing up in the spots of our reader’s backyard where there is only dirt, they also tend to show up when it is cool and damp, and will “disappear” when it warms up and the sun comes out. The worms have also been brought into her home on the fur of her dog, and then she has to comb the worms out of his fur. She wants to find out what they are and how to get rid of them, and understandably so.
To us, these look like new guinea flatworms. This is based on the appearance of the worms, their size, as well as the context our reader gave us. New Guinea flatworms were originally discovered in New Guinea, but were introduced to certain regions to control snail populations. Unfortunately, since then the New Guinea flatworm has become an invasive species that has spread to multiple regions of the world, including the States. Some consider the worm a welcome sight if they have already been experiencing infestations of snails or another creature that the flatworms feed on. That said, for others, they are more a problem than a blessing, so we understand that our reader wants to get rid of them.
It should also be noted that the New Guinea flatworm does carry a parasite which can be transferred only through ingestion, and while we do not know if it affects dogs, we advise that our reader try to keep her dog away from the worms as much as possible. And of course, if her dog starts experiencing any symptoms, then she should take him to the vet for a professional’s opinion.
Things our reader can do to keep New Guinea flatworms away from her home is to remove anything that might provide a cool place to hide, like piles of leaves, rocks or other types of organic debris. She can also pour hot water on her lawn, which will discourage the flatworms from rising to the surface, and which may eventually drive them away from that area. Otherwise, there is not too much one can do to control and prevent these flatworms.
To conclude, we think that the worms our reader has been finding are New Guinea flatworms. Although there is not yet a cut and dry solution to getting rid of these flatworms, we hope that the advice we did give proves helpful. We wish our reader and her dog the best!