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How to Remove Worms and Jigger From a Plant
"Jigs" are a common pest control term. They are the larvae (or pupae) of certain species of tapeworms. They can vary greatly in size but are typically no bigger than the width of a pencil eraser. Jigs can range from being a few millimeters in size to several inches across. "Jigs" are generally found throughout the world but are most commonly found in Central and Southern America.
Tunga penetrans is a flesh-colored, wingless worm, about one-eighth inch in length. It lives in the soil, on rocks and logs, in feces, and on plants. Tunga penetrans is commonly confused with a jigger - a kind of insect whose larvae are larger than those of the tunga worm itself. A common source for "jigs" is ants. Tunga penetrans is indigenous to Central and South America.
Cimicidae, also known as carpet worms, are about two to three millimeters in length and are found on plant stems, stalks, and roots. They are attracted to specific food sources (labor), which include plant juices, sapwood, and the sap of fruits and flowers. Carpet worms live in the soil in small communities. They may be found on soil, rocks, or logs. Carpet worms are common in moist decaying areas that are poorly drained.
Hookworms (Igmus noctiflorus) range in color from green to gray. They are small, approximately two to three millimeters in length, with smooth, round bodies. They inhabit wet habitats, especially decaying wood, and infest homes, gardens, parks, bridges, and other buildings. Hookworm infestations cause a variety of skin conditions including rashes, blisters, skin lesions, itching, and watery eyes. Tapeworms are about six to nine millimeters in length.
Flukes (Cypris rotundus) are small, red, white or black colored flat worms. The flattened shape of a fluke is distinctly different from the hookworm. They are found on plants, soil, rocks or logs. They attach themselves to plant life and inject eggs into the plant juices or on the undersides of leaves. As a result of their constant feeding, tapeworms make plant life very unhealthy.
Flukes can infect plants through tapeworms, ants, other flies, and even birds. When a plant is infected by Fluke, the tapeworm makes a complete set of eggs which then hatch and start to reproduce. If an infestation is not controlled, it soon takes over the plant life. In extreme cases, Flukes can destroy entire plant communities.
Aphids (Aphthias meters) are large, brown or grayish colored insects. They range in size from a few millimeters to a few inches. Aphids love moist, shady areas and can cause extensive damage to young plants. Aphid infestations are difficult to detect and control. When aphids get to the upper portions of a leaf, the stem will soon die.
The common name for jigs is "bird guano," a corrupted variation of the popular "ground guano" used to identify them. Many types of birds, including crows, starlings, gulls, finches, cardinals, towhees, sparrows, woodpeckers, and pigeons, can also eat plant sap and become infected with jiggers. A garden with a lot of these birds can easily have a substantial amount of these worms in one area. This is especially true if your garden is invaded and unoccupied for a period of time. There is no way to completely eliminate the threat of jiggers, but by using a good organic pest control product such as worm poop removal, you can greatly reduce their population.
Jiggers attach themselves to young seedling plants and begin feeding on the sap of these plants. This is how they cause so much damage. They often attack plants that grow quickly and have shallow roots, like daffodils and sunflowers. The fastest growing young plants are often targeted first by these predators, which usually feed on a plant's stem before taking the plant into their mouths.
In the late summer or early fall, the male Jiggers begin to deposit sperm onto the undersides of leaves. This is how they mate and create baby worms. If a plant's leaves have a long, continuous growth habit, the Jiggers can sometimes immobilize the plant's roots and prevent the plant from recovering. It's a common problem with plants that grow on the underside of trees and shrubs.
To remove a growing bigger, the best approach is to simply grab the plant by the base of the leaf and lift it off the ground. Most experts recommend that you do not dig up a plant until the roots are completely covered with soil. Digging up a plant when it's young, can cause serious damage to its roots and result in the death of the plant if you don't remove it quickly enough. It's also important to note that digging up a young plant before it's developed fully can actually cause the jiggers to become more active as the plant's roots develop. The result is often an increase in activity that can lead to more damage.