The Q&A Archives: flatworms

Question: Recently, I have found several flatworms in my soil. When I googled I found that flatworms are Asian and feed on our native garden worms. I am worried: why do I have them; should I get rid of them; how do I get rid of them? Should I be worried?

Answer: Soils are brimming with all kinds of organisms and in healthy soil there is a balance and they are all members of the food chain. In your soil you have organic residues; leaves, grass clippings, other plant debris, food scraps, fecal matter and animal bodies including those of soil invertebrates. Then you have the primary consumers of the organic residues. These include bacteria, fungi, actinomycetes,
nematodes, some types of mites, snails, slugs, earthworms, millipedes, sowbugs, and whiteworms. Next level of the food chain are the organisms that eat primary consumers; springtails, some types of mites, feather-winged beetles, nematodes, protozoa, rotifera, and soil flatworms. These, in turn, are fed on by Tertiary consumers (organisms that eat secondary consumers) including centipedes, predatory mites, rove beetles, fomicid ants, and carabid beetles. So having a few flatworms in your garden just indicates that your soil is teaming with healthy organisms. I wouldn't worry too much about the flatworms.

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