small white worms in soil?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Heritage, Nov 30, 2005.

  1. Heritage

    Heritage Well-Known Member

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    I took a little of my garden soil inside to put in a potted plant. I noticed some small (1/4 inch long) white worms that look a lot like miniature millipedes. They have seemed to multiply now and I was wondering if any of you pros might know what they are and if they are detrimental. They are white, almost transparent, have many short legs (like a millipede), they are hard-bodied, and curl up like a pillbug when disturbed. Does anyone have a clue?????
     
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  2. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Immature pillbugs are white. Otherwise look like adults.
     

  3. pickapeppa

    pickapeppa Well-Known Member

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    I've read they are a sign of healthy soil and are integral to the breakdown of organic matter. If they are the same ones I'm thinking, you can test it by putting a paper towel soaked in milk on the soil at night. In the morning, they will all have gravitated and attached themselves to it. I don't remember what they are called.
     
  4. Heritage

    Heritage Well-Known Member

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    Cyngbaeld, thanks for the attempt, but they are not immature pillbugs. That is what I thought they might be at first since they curl up, but found out that wasn't it.

    Pickapeppa, I did what you said with the paper towel and milk, and there was a bunch of them under the paper towel this morning. They weren't attached to it so much as just piled up underneath. I still haven't found anything to identify them if anyone might know the name of the critter, I'd appreciate it! Thanks.
     
  5. MoBarger

    MoBarger Goat's Milk soap for sale

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  6. Heritage

    Heritage Well-Known Member

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    nematodes? hmm... I thought nematodes were microscopic and legless. I found one large one that was 1/2 inch long, maybe 1/16 in diameter. It really looks a lot like a millipede, but nowhere near as big. I am watching to see what happens. Any more ideas?
     
  7. woodspirit

    woodspirit Well-Known Member

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    They do sound like millipedes. They normally eat dead plant material, however if the numbers build up too much they can cause damage to the plants roots. You could soak the soil with a malathion mix but you need to leave the plant outside for several days because of the smell. I've also heard that the no pest strips found at the hardware store can be put into a large plastic bag with the plant and fill the bag with air and tie off. leave it in there for about three days and that gets rid of many kinds of insects. You should never use garden soil indoors unless you heat treat it in the oven fisrt to kill pathogens. The no pest strips work with potted plants that you bring inside for the winter also.
     
  8. Paula

    Paula Well-Known Member

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  9. woodspirit

    woodspirit Well-Known Member

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    No, wireworms are the color of my feathers :)
     
  10. midkiffsjoy

    midkiffsjoy Bedias, Texas

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    DO they have a little orange looking mouth end??? Then they are the larve stage of june bugs and while they are GREAT as fish bait they EAT the roots of plants and will destory your garden!!! Either go fishing or feed them to your chickens (who will LOVES them).
     
  11. pickapeppa

    pickapeppa Well-Known Member

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    Heritage, I think this is what you are describing:

    Q: Are the little white worms in my Can-O-Worms baby earthworms?
    A: No, baby earthworms are not white, but clear to opaque, before developing a reddish color. They are just visible at this stage. The 'white worm' you are noticing is a type of worm called entrachyadids. They will not hurt compost worms but they do indicate acidic conditions, which can be overcome by the regular addition of a handful of lime. By placing a piece of moist bread in your Can-O-Worms, you can also lure the white worms to a small area for easy removal. It is important to note that many organisms that may appear in your Can-O-Worms (such as large populations of minute red mites and large soldier fly larvae) are beneficial to the break down of organic material, so there is no need to remove them.
     
  12. Heritage

    Heritage Well-Known Member

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    They are not June Bug larvae, I have a few of them in the garden but not many. I am familiar with them.

    From looking online, they are not entrachyadids either. Those look like simple white worms. What I've got have legs and antennae. They are whitish translucent, you can see the guts running down the middle of the critter. I am thinking they are millipede yunguns but I haven't found a pic online that looks like them. Those pics I've found don't really look like what I've got. It is just sort of aggravating not knowing what is in my soil. Hmmmmmmm........