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New Zealand flatworm

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  • 23-03-2017 9:36pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 619 ✭✭✭


    I have lots of these in my garden trying to kill as many as possible by trapping them with plastic under stones.

    Anybody have any other ways to help keep the numbers down?

    Also has any research been done in Ireland on the impact to wildlife. Surely if they get a hold in the countryside it could be devastating not to mention the unseen work the earthworms do for the land.

    Very annoying that these are being spread around the countryside.


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Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 32,688 ✭✭✭✭ytpe2r5bxkn0c1


    Absolutely a major threat to the Irish ecosystems it can not be controlled once it is in an area.  All that can really be done is to prevent further spread by inspecting plants that are being moved in order to see that the egg capsules or worms are not present. 


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,647 ✭✭✭Day Lewin


    Just keep killing every one you find. I'm serious.


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,067 ✭✭✭✭fryup


    how did they get here in the first place? exotic plants?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 32,688 ✭✭✭✭ytpe2r5bxkn0c1


    fryup wrote: »
    how did they get here in the first place? exotic plants?

    They are believed to have arrived in potted plants.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,992 ✭✭✭✭recedite


    I think a lot of the Irish garden centres are riddled with them.
    I got a present of a potted plant around 2 years ago, and left it on a concrete slab for a few days. When I got around to planting it, I picked up the pot and there was a big thick NZ flatworm underneath it. Chopped him up into tiny pieces, and fed them to the goldfish, just to make sure the pieces didn't grow back into numerous mini flatworms. I've not seen any since, so I think I got him in time.

    The garden centres have a lot to answer for though, spreading these things around. Who knows what will happen to the earthworms they prey on. I'd imagine the flatworms will spread all over the country eventually, and the density of earthworms will reduce as a result, with a consequent small reduction in productivity of the land.


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  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 49,529 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder


    recedite wrote: »
    The garden centres have a lot to answer for though
    or else the suppliers. are there any nematodes which attack them if you know they're present?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,992 ✭✭✭✭recedite


    I don't think they have any specific nematode nemesis.

    The problem with garden centres is that once they become home to these critters, they allow the flatworms to travel from pot to pot, so even if "clean" plants arrive in, they are likely to pick up the flatworms before long. The garden centre then becomes an infection and distribution centre for flatworms.
    Apparently they like a cool moist climate, so Ireland is perfect for them. Potted plants arriving from say, Holland, are more likely to get infected after they arrive in this country.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 49,529 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder


    hmm. and garden centres are fond of large 'tray' style plant displays which can be watered as a single unit...


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,795 ✭✭✭Isambard


    any help to install a couple of ducks in the garden? I was thinking of doing this to reduce the slug population


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,992 ✭✭✭✭recedite


    Maybe, but I don't think flatworms would appear on the surface as much as slugs. They would tend to be underground or under stones.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 619 ✭✭✭vistafinder


    Isambard wrote: »
    any help to install a couple of ducks in the garden? I was thinking of doing this to reduce the slug population

    Unfortunately I have slightly raised beds without sides for veg set up and the ducks would make a mess of them.
    Speaking of slugs I have been doing a night patrol with a head torch in my tunnel with the last few nights for slugs and I am getting the flat worms of a shapes and sizes on the surface while out there they shine out nicely with the torch.

    I bet the plastic buried in in the earth is a breeding ground for both.

    I am in the middle of sorting out a newly erected tunnel and have been piking and shovelling earth since Monday and I just came across the first earth worm a while ago.

    Sad indeed


  • Registered Users Posts: 619 ✭✭✭vistafinder


    recedite wrote: »
    Who knows what will happen to the earthworms they prey on. I'd imagine the flatworms will spread all over the country eventually, and the density of earthworms will reduce as a result, with a consequent small reduction in productivity of the land.

    I think we are hugely undervaluing what the earth worm does. Even tho my garden has always been wet and is heavy clay.
    Working with the earth with the last few days there is lots of leaf mould from some nearby trees and its just sitting there and starting to smell.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,992 ✭✭✭✭recedite


    The ducks would of course be tucked up asleep even if the flatworms did appear on the surface at night.
    But yes, sad that in this case, the flatworms seem to have had a very measurable effect on the earthworm population.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 32,688 ✭✭✭✭ytpe2r5bxkn0c1


    I think we are hugely undervaluing what the earth worm does. Even tho my garden has always been wet and is heavy clay.
    Working with the earth with the last few days there is lots of leaf mould from some nearby trees and its just sitting there and starting to smell.

    Just on the leaf mould. It's actually early yet for worm action on last autumn's deposit of leaves.


  • Registered Users Posts: 619 ✭✭✭vistafinder


    Just on the leaf mould. It's actually early yet for worm action on last autumn's deposit of leaves.
    Interesting when is it they start?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 32,688 ✭✭✭✭ytpe2r5bxkn0c1


    Interesting when is it they start?

    Any day now ;) Once temperatures rise and growth starts. Give any compacted and damp leaves a stir with a garden fork if they are smelling.


  • Registered Users Posts: 18 IOLARMARA


    New Zealand wildlife getting back at the world for destroying the Haast's eagle and it's prey the Moa and the unique New Zealand wildlife. Of course I'm joking but yea..


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,647 ✭✭✭Day Lewin


    What about hedgehogs? Can an Irish gráinneog eat New Zealand flatworms? They are nocturnal...foxes eat worms too, which they catch on rainy nights. And Badgers do also. Blackbirds and robins like worms as well I believe?

    If they ever come near my garden I'm prepared to launch an all-out strike against them. Trap, catch and slaughter.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 32,688 ✭✭✭✭ytpe2r5bxkn0c1


    Day Lewin wrote: »
    What about hedgehogs? Can an Irish gráinneog eat New Zealand flatworms? They are nocturnal...foxes eat worms too, which they catch on rainy nights. And Badgers do also. Blackbirds and robins like worms as well I believe?

    If they ever come near my garden I'm prepared to launch an all-out strike against them. Trap, catch and slaughter.

    They are unpalatable to many animals and secret an enzyme that makes eating them difficult. And when they come to the surface they do so mostly under objects thrasher than in the open.


  • Registered Users Posts: 772 ✭✭✭baaba maal


    Any that I dig up from the veg patch are thrown to the hens- they love them!


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  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 49,529 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder


    Any native flatworms here? Found one, assume it's an NZ one but don't want to kill it if it's native.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 32,688 ✭✭✭✭ytpe2r5bxkn0c1


    Any native flatworms here? Found one, assume it's an NZ one but don't want to kill it if it's native.

    Not of the earth dwelling kind, only parasitic types. Kill it.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 49,529 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder


    cheers, found four in total, they were met with the gas torch. i expect to find more, they were in an open compost heap.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 77 ✭✭DX85


    This post has been deleted.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,992 ✭✭✭✭recedite


    DX85 wrote: »
    This post has been deleted.
    Yes, a lot in it. A couple of interesting things I picked up on...
    They are incredibly efficient eaters, with food conversion efficiency of up to 53% and the ability to go for a year without food.
    But very intolerant of heat and dry conditions.
    This looks like a useful trick to sanitise pots from a garden centre;
    Hot-water treatment could be used to kill A. triangulatus in plant containers (Blackshaw, 1996). Immersion of A. triangulatus in water at 30°C for 20 minutes, killed adults within 24 h. A slightly higher temperature of 34°C and a lower exposure time of 5 minutes resulted in mortality within 1 h
    I don't think 30 - 35 C would harm the plant, would it?


  • Registered Users Posts: 619 ✭✭✭vistafinder


    A few here last year ended up more or less melting under some paving slabs traps on the days we had good sunshine.

    It looked very like what they end up doing to the earth worms actually.

    karma maybe :)


  • Moderators, Arts Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 76,839 Mod ✭✭✭✭New Home


    So, we just need another summer like 1995 and they'd be all gone, wouldn't they?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,992 ✭✭✭✭recedite


    Severe cold will kill them too.
    According to the report above, in warm weather they go deep down into the soil, curl up, and "aestivate". But the odd hot day in a cool summer might catch them unawares. Irish weather can be very changeable.
    Interesting that their main foothold in Europe is Ireland, Scotland and the Orkney islands; the places with dreariest weather!
    Never really hot or really cold.


  • Registered Users Posts: 619 ✭✭✭vistafinder


    There is a program here about another flatworm in Europe. They mention the one thats here.

    Well worth a full view but they start talking about flatworms at 15 min


    Saol Rúnda faoi Thalamh tg4 player documentaries



    Sorry cant get the link to work


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  • Moderators, Arts Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 76,839 Mod ✭✭✭✭New Home


    A few very hot months later... I was wondering if anyone had noticed any difference in the numbers of flatworms they've encountered recently (purely to satisfy my own curiosity).


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