Horse hair worms also known as Nematomorpha or Gordiacea or Gordian Worms are threadlike roundworms similar to a horse’s tail and nematode worms in morphology. They are long worms with a size range of 100 millimeters long and in extreme cases a diameter of 3 millimeters. These worms are found in mainly dump areas for example watering troughs, pools, domestic water container, dump garden soil, streams, puddles and cisterns and the adult worms live freely in most cacses. Horsehair worms develop in the bodies of crickets, grass hoppers, cockroaches as parasites and when they turn in to maturity stage they then leave the host to lay eggs. However, they are not parasites of humans or pets hence no known threat. One of the most common species is the Gordius Robustus.
The life cycle from laying of eggs to fully growing to adult isn’t understood and it is believed that there are several differences in these steps. Below is the steps involved though are different for each worm.
- Horse hair worm adults mate in both male and female. This is internal fertilization and lays eggs in water or damp soil, the eggs laid are long in nature and the female lays up to more than several millions of them. Depending on the water or soil temperature, these eggs will take between two weeks to three months to hatch.
- After 24 hours of hatching the larvae will form a protective cover known as the cyst which is exposed and mostly eaten by an insect example the grasshopper, sometimes it is ingested by the larval insect this will dissolve hence releasing the larva through the gut wall and hence into the cavity of the insect.
- The larvae now changes into an adult worm within the insect’s body and Nutrients absorbed and digested across the body tissue of the insect and after several weeks, the larvae are developed and can therefore break out of the wall of the host insect after taking over the insect’s behavior directing it towards water there by emerging through the hole it created in the insect’s body.
HORSEHAIR WORMS IN HUMANS AND ANIMALS
Horsehair worms are harmless to human beings. They are actually beneficial to man as they kill crickets. When they enter the human body through drinking contaminated water, they stay in digestive tract and released in vomiting or feces
They do not pose any threat to animals for example livestock or pets therefore no pest control methods like use of insecticides is needed. However, there life cycle destroys insects like crickets, grasshoppers
HORSEHAIR NEMATOMORPHA SYMPTOMS
Horsehair worm symptoms usually occurs in these host insects especially when the larvae are changing to adult, Usually the host insect will be kept near or in water and the adult worm will come out of the nearest opening killing the insect, this is never a good sight to watch.
HORSEHAIR NEMATOMORPHA TREATMENT
These worms are not harmful to humans so no control measures are needed however in case of any problem like getting rid of these worms, the following measures can be undertaken and they include the following;
The use of plain hot water to get rid of them by pouring directly on then.
You can also install a mesh filter, this will help you keep the horse worms from water pumped surface supply areas such as a farm pond, or reservoir since it is their main fertilization area
Treatment of domestic water supply systems by chemicals and also filtering these systems under the direction of the government department in charge in the community.
You should seal entry sites in order to save these horse worms or insects out of your home, when you kill an insect like a grass hopper or cricket, take it out of the home with immediate effect.
You can also adopt worming treatment or parasitic control methods to remove these worms that may have been swallowed by animals, these treatments are always available by chemical groups such as Macrocyclic
Lactones, Tetrahydropyrimides and many others treatments.
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