New guinea flatworms surface in SWFL

New guinea flatworms surface in SWFL

Creepy and potentially dangerous crawlers are making their way up to Southwest Florida.

Most new guinea flatworms are found in South Florida, but they have been spotted across Charlotte County over the last couple of years.

Contact with the invasive flatworms could lead to viral infections like meningitis, according to researchers at the University of Florida.

The worms are black on top, grey on the bottom and have a distinctive light-colored line down their back.

In the last year and a half, three were reported in Hendry County, 58 in Collier County, 35 in Charlotte County and 199 in Lee County.

If you spot a new guinea flatworm in your yard or plants, don’t remove it, according to the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Instead, boil water from 109 to 120 degrees and pour it on the plants or the area where the worm was found. The hot water should get rid of the flatworms without hurting plants.

Or call the FWC at 863-648-3200.

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