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Thread: Ack!  Actual worms!  Not larvae!

  1. #1

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    Some NON-PFT.COM/EG plants I have recently put into a new terrarium have two-inch, red, segmented worms or leeches in them. They do not look or act like larvae of any sort--these are worms, as far as I can tell, in fact they could be small earthworms except they have no collar. The things come out of the drainage holes and crawl around on the outside of the pots, waving one end around--very unsightly.

    The pots also have thread-like animals that extend out from the drainage holes into the water tray and thrash around. They could be juveniles of the above.

    How do I kill these things without hurting my sundews and my ping? There is no question that they have to go--preferably before my very-tolerant-to-this-point wife sees them. [img]http://www.**********.com/iBhtml/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif[/img]

    (I would have ordered these plants here if they had been available at the time--I think all except the ping are, now! Oh well.)

    Thanks! I expected some gnat larvae--not this.

    Steve

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    I believe that I would repot from bareroot to be sure there were no eggs in the medium.

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    Nepenthes Specialist nepenthes gracilis's Avatar
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    They are by the sounds of it, Red-Wrigler Worms. They won't hurt you but they will make the nutrient level in your soil go up, and fast! I say pull your palnt out and get as much soil off of it's roots and then you should be fine, the worms I would put in my garden! Good for commercial plants! [img]http://www.**********.com/iBhtml/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif[/img] Good luck!

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    Thanks very much, but darn! I was hoping to avoid this, as I have no experience with repotting and I hate the idea of killing them all at once.

    If I have to repot, I think I will go with an artificial substrate and see what happens. Lava gravel or silica sand, perlite or styrofoam, Lecaton or Seramis, a little charcoal and a little slow release fertilizer (1/4 strength). I'll just dump it right in the terrarium, soak 'em all in Superthrive and go for it.

    In the meantime, while I gather the materials, I'll pick the worms out one-by-one as they show themselves.

    Wish me luck.

    Steve

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    Steve,

    Although I think bare root transplant is the best idea, I suggest that you stick with a clean 50/50 peat/sand mix, and forego both the fertilizer which is not good or needed by CP, and also leave out the charcoal which can absorb salts initially, but later may return them to the mix. I can't speak on the Superthrive issue, but it is my personal instinct is that the plants do not require this either. I try to get a clean, salt and nutrient free medium for the plants, and this is all they really require.

    Transplant is no problem if you take care not to injure the roots. If you have a little live sphagnum, use this to wrap the roots gently in, and then insert the whole "plug" into the medium, and cover it. Water well once from the top to settle the plant in, and provide high humidity (possibly in a ziplock bag) until you notice growth or dew. Keep the medium moist, but not waterlogged, and out of direct sun.

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    Update------------

    I turned the pots out until I found the adult hiding out in the spath (it has probably visited all the pots, just my luck). Tossed it in the garden; may it thrive there. The little worms are definitely juveniles, which means there are probably a lot of them. However, they are drowning in the water tray pretty regularly, and I found no other adults in the media. I don't think they can take the moisture level in the pots.

    I may let this go for awhile and see if the incidence of worms dies down, now that the egg-layer is gone. The downside of this is that I won't get a chance to try a new substrate--I love to tinker. The upside is that the plants may live!

    The next red dragon VFT I buy gets the substrate. I'll toss in a nepenthes, too.

    Steve

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    Quote
    Quote: from Tamlin Dawnstar on 7:30 pm on May 27, 2002
    Steve,

    Although I think bare root transplant is the best idea, I suggest that you stick with a clean 50/50 peat/sand mix, and forego both the fertilizer which is not good or needed by CP, and also leave out the charcoal which can absorb salts initially, but later may return them to the mix. I can't speak on the Superthrive issue, but it is my personal instinct is that the plants do not require this either. I try to get a clean, salt and nutrient free medium for the plants, and this is all they really require.

    Transplant is no problem if you take care not to injure the roots. If you have a little live sphagnum, use this to wrap the roots gently in, and then insert the whole "plug" into the medium, and cover it. Water well once from the top to settle the plant in, and provide high humidity (possibly in a ziplock bag) until you notice growth or dew. Keep the medium moist, but not waterlogged, and out of direct sun.
    [/QUOTE]

    Thanks, Tamlin, for the cautionary advice. I can do what you suggest with on-hand materials--perhaps I will go for it after all and leave the substrate experimentation for later, or for the next half-dead gift plant I get. (The last one is doing great in my bathroom, after a week in my terrarium to get its legs back.)

    And thanks again to everyone who has helped me out. I'll report the results after I decide what to do.

    Steve

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    Remember though, its the fact that they may be increasing the nutriend level in the substrate... They might still be hurting your plant...

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