What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Very small thin long white worm found in garden.
Fri, Nov 14, 2008 at 1:57 PM
I was gardening and found this very thin and small in diameter, long, almost string like. Looked like a piece of sewing thread. I was digging up dirt and happen to see it and it began moving. Wondering what this is and if its harmful to me or my pets.
Paizly Contreras
Woodland, Ca, United States

Unknown White Worm

Unknown White Worm

Hi Paizly,
We didn’t think this hairlike or threadlike worm would be that difficult to identify, but the exact identification is proving quite elusive for us. We believe this is a Nematode Worm of some type, but we are not certain. We feel confident that one of our readers will be able to properly identify your White Worm.

Hi Paizly
Free living soil nematodes are usually very small, typically less than 1 mm in length. This could be a displaced parasitic nematode, but I am inclined to think it may be a juvenile nematomorph (a.k.a. Gordian worm or horsehair worm). As juveniles, nematomorphs are parasites of insects and other arthropods. When mature, they exit their host when the host is in or near water, and they then complete their life cycle as free-living, non-feeding aquatic adults. I have seen several instances, and it is probably not unusual, where one has prematurely left a host that has died (e.g., squished on a sidewalk). If this is a nematomorph, perhaps its host died; maybe you got it with a garden implement. They are fascinating creatures and definitely harmless to humans.
There are some pictures very similar to yours at: http://www.matthewbolek.com/Nematomorphs%20for%20web%20page/Nematomorphaindex.html
KK

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

22 Responses to Unknown White Threadlike Worm may be immature Horsehair Worm

  1. kkroeker says:

    Hi Paizly

    Free living soil nematodes are usually very small, typically less than 1 mm in length. This could be a displaced parasitic nematode, but I am inclined to think it may be a juvenile nematomorph (a.k.a. Gordian worm or horsehair worm). As juveniles, nematomorphs are parasites of insects and other arthropods. When mature, they exit their host when the host is in or near water, and they then complete their life cycle as free-living, non-feeding aquatic adults. I have seen several instances, and it is probably not unusual, where one has prematurely left a host that has died (e.g., squished on a sidewalk). If this is a nematomorph, perhaps its host died; maybe you got it with a garden implement. They are fascinating creatures and definitely harmless to humans.

    There are some pictures very similar to yours at: http://www.matthewbolek.com/Nematomorphs%20for%20web%20page/Nematomorphaindex.html

    KK

  2. Angela Hottinger says:

    I was so freaked out when I look down and saw what looked to be a piece of white thread material in my grass, MOVING….WHAT? I yelled to my husband for him to view and see if he knew what this “moving white thread” was. When he said no…my reply was let’s Google it…and here I am. There are horses by my yard, therefore I believe this may just be my answer. I am very relieved to know that they are not harmful to the children or pets, or myself for that matter. Anyway…thank you for your answer it was very useful.

  3. I saw an interesting worm in my garden I never saw before. It was as thin as a thread. More than four inches long. It was whitish, greenish, yellowish at the ends, and different dark colours in the middle. It appeared to be dancing. It was up in the air more than inch and twirlling a circular motion with a good half inch radius. It is a cool rainy day here in Southern Ontario. There were quite a number of them. Very interesting.
    I picked one up and I felt like I got a little shock. I do not know if it was my fear or not. I instantly dropped it and then picked it up again and did not feel anything. It coiled up in my hand like a screwed up spring.

    I have been working with soil and gardens for 60 yrs and have never seen this before. Do you know what it is? What do they do?

    • bugman says:

      Perhaps one of our readers will have a suggestion as to the identity of your mysterious worms.

    • Elaine says:

      I found about 30 of these string like willowy worms in my yard and was very concerned. I live in northern ontario and have had rain for a number of days leaving everything damp and wet. I have never seen anything like this. They are from 2 inches to 5 inches long – some are light coloured and some have both a light colouring and a darkening near the middle to the end. They were on the wet grass waving away and that drew my attention to them. I haven’t found any in the front yard where the sun shines longer, but mostly in the back near the house where the sun takes all day to arrive. I thought that perhaps I hadn’t mowed my lawn soon enough as it had grown a little too long (second cut since the beginning of grass season). Has anyone figured out what these are and if my pets are at risk?

    • corina says:

      did you ever identify this worm? i have them dancing in my backyard and worried about my pets. thank you!!

  4. I should add that the light colour on the ends of the worm I described above, were about 3/4 in long on each end. The dark color was black, dark brown, and I think greenish hue. I do not have a camera to take a picture of it.

  5. Joanne says:

    I have a video of the same described worm of David Pelly. How can I upload it? I think it’s a nemotode, as I sprayed my yard last year for grubs. Is this possible that it could be ?

  6. Danah says:

    I found a pinkish whitish worm that looks like a peice of string on my pool. it seems to like the water. when its not in water it curls up just like a slinkie toy. when its in water it seems to swim. Does anyone know?

  7. Kristen says:

    Can someone please tell me what the difference is between the look of a baby earthworm thread and a parasite I have a bunch of tiny thread like worms under all of the bricks in my back yard and I am Not sure what they are please help

  8. David Pelly says:

    Where are all the bug and worm experts? Don’t universities have such experts? We need to hear from them to solve these mysteries.

    • Peggy Holmes says:

      Hello, I just found on of these in my garden. I am taking a master gardener program through the University of California, Davis. If you type in University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, you will find it.
      These are called horsetail worms. They are beneficial to our gardens and fields. They are parasites to grass hopper and other bugs that cause destruction to our plants.

  9. David Pelly says:

    Hi Peggy,

    Good to hear from you. I did a brief search as you stated and I did not find anything re the horsetail worms nor any kind of worms. Perhaps you can post the exact link. Thank you.

  10. John P MacLaughlin says:

    Hi Folks. I live in Derbyshire, U.K. and have found there thread like worms in my garden. I have noticed them before on my two allotments and now in my back garden. I wonder is there any connection between them and horse manure.?. I have a plentiful supply of well rotted and fresh manure in my 4 large bins I have as compost heaps.. It has been very wet,damp and warm these past few days , and these worms seem to appear when the above conditions are around. They are fascinating to watch. I do not believe they carry any harmful effects to pets or humans. I am open to correction if my thoughts are wrong. Happy gardening folks.

  11. Hi John, Good to hear from you and your experience with the thread like worms. Recently I was reading a transcript by Dr. Carey Reams on soil fertility and management. He was talking about worms. He said there are many types of nematodes. Even earthworms are members of the nematode family. What I took away from that information is that those thread like worms are a type of nematode. I doubt if they are harmful.

    But as you say, they are sure interesting to watch. They really do a lot of fancy dancing.

    Like snake charmers make cobra snakes dance.

    A whole bunch of them is like a dance show.

    Here is the transcript I am referring to:

    http://tandjenterprises.com/reams-black-session1/Agriculture-Reams-year-unk.pdf

    If you go to the main website

    http://tandjenterprises.com

    there are lots of other transcripts and audios which are on human health.

  12. HModell says:

    I plant in kiddie pools because of gophers. This the first time in 25 years I have found these thread like worms in my gardens and inside my potatoes. I had my soil delivered by a different company this year but used very little in this bed. I wasn’t concerned until I found one inside a healthy looking potato. I have noticed a decrease in the number of earthworms in that bed. Any suggestions?

  13. My opinion is that the soil is not as good as you think it is. And the potato looks better than it is. Pests will not attack a healthy plant or any part of it. There is order, purpose and control in Nature. Nature is intelligent design. If your crop is being attacked by pests, it is a sign that your product is not fit for human consumption and nature has sent in her quality control engineers to destroy that product so you will not eat it, to protect your health.

  14. HModell says:

    So, now how do I fix it? What can I do to fix the problem? I only plant blue potatoes in this bed. Guess I am not buying soil from this company again.

  15. 1. I suggest you visit this website and read everything over.

    Then contact them:

    http://highbrixgardens.com/

    2. And join this discussion group:

    brixtalk@yahoogroups.com

    3. This is the moderator of the list:

    brixmanus@gmail.com

  16. I also suggest that you read this book:

    Nourishment Home Grown, by A. F. Beddoe.

    You can get a free down load pdf on line.

  17. Joi says:

    PSA: This worm is very toxic to humans!!!! It seems to go by various names but the bottom line is that it YES IT IS DANGEROUS! My family and I moved into a home about 8 months ago and one by one we all began to have a variety of symptoms. Symptoms that nightmares are made of. So severe you may think it’s toxic mold or heavy metal poisoning. Some symptoms might vairy in severity just like any other illness. But the symptoms that are consistent in each one of us is alarming enough for me to speak out. I am a very shy individual and have no desire to lead anyone astray. I only want to raise awareness to this issue. Because there is little to no information on the subject. If you Google it, it says it does not have any harmful effects on humans. And that’s if you look up horsehair worms/Gordian worms. If you look up Morgellons or maybe you have heard of it, you will hear it’s not real or a delusion. That was CDC’s first response to what’s going on and now it seems to be related to Lyme disease. But after my entire family has became ill around or near same time, I’m not sure I buy that. Weakness, fatigue, spasms, blurred vision, muscle pain, confusion, depression/anxiety/irritability, itchy skin, rash.and heart palpitations. That’s just the beginning! I have kidney damage, my pregnant daughter is having complications with her pregnancy, another daughter has lung damage, and another daughter is now infertile. All of us have had lung issues, swelling of organs such as kidneys, liver, gallbladder and pancreas. And if all that doesn’t scare you I am certain the other symptoms will. Because not only do you feel like you are going to die you will begin to have very odd symptoms that make you feel like you just might be losing your mind. My spasms turned into what I thought was twitching. Twitching in eye lid,face,legs, feet, arms, and hands. But then you quickly begin to notice that there seems to be something moving under the skin. And through out it all you will probably notice hair loss (lots of it). But then you feel your hair begin to move and it almost seems alive. Upon further inspection you may see what appear to be tiny moving pieces of lint. They are not limited to creating havoc inside our bodies. They cause more issues than a month ever did when it comes to clothing, furniture, curtains,towels,ect. You will notice strings in every piece of fabric in your home starting to unravel. You will see hairballs, dust bunnies, mop strings that also seem to now have life. Talk about questioning your sanity. Can’t really find much information on this issue to say where it came from. Seems to have lots of speculation about being caused by chem trails. I do not know what the truth is when on when or how it originated but I can say with absolute certainty that it can and will make you and your family very ill. It seems to like damp areas. It also can be living in your toilet and the drain traps in your home. Lots of videos on YouTube. You will find more videos for morgellons than horsehair worms. But if you type in horsehair worms in humans as well as morgellons, you will see and hear the exact same stories. They are sometimes hard to spot & they are hard to get rid of (still have them). And to find a doctor that knows anything about this new parasitical infection is to say the least is a challenge. This seems to be a growing health issue and needs awareness brought to the subject. And to anyone having these issues, you are not crazy and you are not alone!

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