How to Get Rid of Hammerhead Worms? [2 Simple Ways]

how to get rid of hammerhead worms

There are a lot of different types of worms on this planet. Some of them are beneficial to humans such as earthworms. They can be a great asset to gardens, plants, and trees and can help them in various ways. Also, they can be useful in protecting the plants from destructive pests such as termite larvae, grubs, and other harmful pests. By burrowing into the ground, they can help in mixing the earth’s soil. However, there are some worms that can be quite dangerous such as the hammerhead worms.

How to get rid of hammerhead worms? There are different techniques used but two of them are the most effective. First is to spray citrus oil on their bodies while in the second technique, sprinkling salt on hammerheads can also help. But before you try to get rid of these harmful creatures, it is important to understand its nature and know how they destroy your field. So, let’s get rolling!

Hammerhead worms are quite destructive and therefore, need to be eliminated from the fields. They are usually seen in the gardens or on the plant parts. They have a hammer-like head, therefore known as hammerhead worms.

What Actually Hammerhead Worms Are?

People often see worms in their gardens and fields but they don’t know whether these are hammerheads or not. Hammerheads are flatworms and their head just looks like a hammerhead shark. They are also known as shovelhead or arrowhead. These worms are usually massive and can grow to be quite large, up to 20 inches long. However, most of these grow to about only an inch.

As they are nocturnal, so it is easy to find them at night, but they can be seen in the early morning as well. Hammerhead is mostly found on the top of the soil such as in a garden or one’s lawn, especially after a hard rain. Like other worms, they need a moist environment to survive and lives in the soil. Just like slugs and snails, they thrive in warm and humid climes and leave a slime trail behind them. They can also be seen on tree branches and trunks and will stick to any wet surface.

As the hammerhead moves, they secrete thick and dense mucus from their undersides. Some of them have stripes while others don’t have. They look a lot like slugs as they move in a slug-like fashion and their creeping soles help them during locomotion.

get rid of hammerhead worms

Hammerhead worms have a lot of species but their most distinctive features are its spade-shaped head and a flattened body. Different species have different sizes, shapes, colors, and stripe patterns. Most of the hammerheads are earth-colored and found in shades of brown, grey, green, and gold.

Distribution and Habitat

Hammerhead worms are native to tropical and subtropical regions but at the same time, they have become invasive worldwide. It is believed that these worms were accidentally transported and distributed on rooted agricultural plants. They are not usually found in deserts and mountain biomes because they require humidity to survive.

The Downsides of Hammerhead Worms

Hammerhead worms are usually not harmful to humans, nor are they harmful to household pets. However, they are extremely harmful and damaging to earthworms. Earthworms might be small, but they are one of the most important creatures on earth! They play an important part in soil fertilization because they excrete powerful fertilizers such as castings, also known as excrement.

Hammerhead worms follow an earthworm’s trail and then capture it. Then it holds its victim in its powerful muscles and secretes a sticky substance. Hammerhead worms eat the earthworm in a frightful manner. It pulls the pharynx out of the mouth of the earthworm and then secretes enzymes on its body. The enzymes dissolve the earthworm’s body and after this, the liquefied tissue is sucked by the hammerhead worm. 

The digestion process of the hammerhead worm mostly occurs outside of its body, as the earthworm is dissolved before being consumed.

Hammerhead worms cause depletion of earthworm population and this can be quite harmful to your garden or a field. They are an invasive species and can be quite problematic. Most of them contain potent toxins such as tetrodotoxin and neurotoxin. This helps immobilizes prey and deter predators.

Ways to Get Rid of Hammerhead Worms

Looking at the downsides of hammerhead worms to your garden, it is important to get rid of these creatures as quickly as possible. However, you must keep in mind that not to chop or smash them. This is because hammerhead worms have the ability of regeneration and its pieces will regenerate into new hammerhead worms! There are two types of methods that can be used to kill hammerhead worms. Let’s discuss them one-by-one:

1. Simple Methods

These are the methods that are easy to apply. Simple methods require less time and can be used by anyone, without the need for any training. There are a lot of simple methods but the most common and effective are given below:

Citrus Oil: The finest way to kill hammerhead worms is to fill a spray bottle with citrus oil. This can be easily found at your local grocery store, or you can make it by yourself at home. But you can’t kill hammerhead worms by simply spraying citrus oil in your garden. To wipe out the whole hammerhead worm population, you have to spray each one of them. You can use this citrus bliss fresh essential oil if you like.

citrus bliss fresh essential oil

Choose a certain day of the week to spend in “hammerhead hunting”. Ideally, go out in the early morning when the worms will rise to the surface of the soil. Spray the worm until it is completely immersed in the citrus oil. To control the worm’s population effectively, you will need to spray with citrus oil at least once a week. To make sure that you have killed off all the hammerhead worms, check for its eggs. If you find it, destroy them immediately.

Salt or Vinegar: Another product you can use to kill hammerhead worms is salt. You can use this ancient fine sea salt to kill hammerhead worms. You just need to collect the worms in a jar and sprinkle salt over them. This method is very effective and kills the worms immediately. If citrus oil or salt doesn’t work, due to any reason, you can also try vinegar. If you want to use vinegar then grain vinegar concentrate is the best for you.

Boric Acid: Hammerheads worms cannot survive in acidic soils and therefore, various acidic products can be used to kill them. Boric acid is widely used for this purpose. It intentionally acidifies the surface of soil making it difficult for worms to survive. Hammerhead worms require a preferred ph range and boric acid doesn’t provide that. Boric acid needs to be applied every 2-4 weeks to get rid of hammerheads completely. You can check our best pick boric acid at Amazon.

fine granular boric acid powder

2. Large Scale Eradication Methods

These are the methods applied when the hammerhead population is too much or the area affected is very large. These methods are a bit complex and can be expensive as well. However, large scale eradication methods can be very effective.  Let’s discuss them in detail:

Soap Sprays: Soap sprays are extremely effective in killing all types of worms, particularly hammerhead worms. These are not too much toxic but kill the worms simply by smothering them with soap. This prevents the worms from breathing and eventually kills them. Soap sprays are easily available in garden centers and online suppliers. You can also make it at your home by mixing one or two tablespoons of liquid soap in a small spray bottle. You can also check this insecticide soap spray on Amazon.

insecticide soap spray

Neem Oil: Hammerhead worms are considered as pests and cause great damage to earthworms. Therefore, pesticides can also be used to get rid of these tiny creatures. Neem oil is a natural pesticide and is obtained from the neem tree. It is a poisonous extract and is readily available in garden centers. It is widely used because it has little effect on other useful worms and insects. You can also check our best pick neem oil on Amazon.

neem oil to kill hammerhead worms

Pyrethrum: This is one of the most toxic natural pesticides and is derived from pyrethrum daisy. It is effectively used to kill hammerhead worms and is generally sprayed. It is mildly toxic to people and degrades quickly in the environment. You can go with this pyrethrum dust spray to kill your hammerhead worms.

pyrethrum dust spray

Organophosphates and Carbamates: Organophosphates are a large class of synthetic pesticides that targets the nervous system of hammerhead worms. They interact with the enzymes, disrupt nerve impulses, and eventually, kill the worms.  However, they have a cumulative effect on the environment.

Carbamates work similar to organophosphates but are less toxic and have a shorter duration of action.

Preferred Method

Now the question arises that which technique should you follow to get rid of hammerhead worms in my garden? Whether you should use simple methods or the large scale eradication methods? Well, the answer is easy! If you have a small area and the hammerhead worms have a small population, you must follow the simple methods. However, if a large area is affected by hammerhead worms, the ideal option is to follow the large scale eradication methods.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Hammerhead worms harmful?

Hammerheads are terrifying and toxic terrestrial flatworms. These are invasive species and eradicates earthworms. However, hammerhead worms dony pose a direct threat to human beings.

How long are hammerhead worms?

These worms have muscular, colorful bodies and can grow up to 40 centimeters in length. They occupy a range of ecosystems on land.

What type of worm has a flat head?

Most commonly, Bipalium, a genus of land planarians, has a flat-shaped head. They are also known as hammerhead worms or broadhead planarians.

What is the best habitat for hammerhead worms?

Hammerhead worms are mostly found in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. They require humidity to survive and are uncommon in deserts and mountain biomes.

How to recognize a hammerhead worm?

These worms can be easily recognized by the distinctive shape of their head region. They have a “hammer-like” flathead and therefore, known as hammerhead worms.


Finally, you get your ultimate solution about how to get rid of hammerhead worms? Hammerhead worms are a usual part of gardens and fields but it is important to get rid of these. Otherwise, they will finish all the earthworms in your field, making it less fertile. But before you decide to finish these tiny creatures, you must know whether to use simple methods or large scale methods, looking at your area. These are the predators of earthworms. However, they are not harmful to humans or other household pets.

Lisa Marshall

Hi, This is Lisa Marshall. Lisa has been working with farmers for over thirteen years. It is his passion, hobby and profession. To facilitate other gardeners from her experience, she has decided to start this website to share her gardening experience with her plant lovers.

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