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  #1  
Old 05-21-2019, 11:28 AM
Bloom152 Bloom152 is offline
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Please help me identify this worm in Phal medium!!! Female
Default Please help me identify this worm in Phal medium!!!

I just recently bought two Phalaenopsis orchids and I've had them for two weeks now. I finally found the time to repot them the other day, and when I went to give them a quick look over through the clear plastic pot I absolutely cringed. Inside the medium there are long, hair like worms! At first I thought fungus gnat larvae, but a better look showed they are definitely not larvae. I honestly have never encountered this with repotting orchids and I just want to know what this is!! I have tried doing so much research and I cannot find anything! Please help! If you can spot it, it's closer to the bottom below a root
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Last edited by Bloom152; 05-21-2019 at 11:40 AM..
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Old 05-21-2019, 11:44 AM
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MrHappyRotter MrHappyRotter is offline
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It's very hard to tell from the attached photo, but it looks like it could be your basic terrestrial segmented worm (i.e. "earthworm") going about its day gorging on decaying organic detritus.

Obviously this is not a good sign for your typical potted tropical mass produced Phal in bark media, as it implies the mix is significantly broken down enough to support worms of this type.

It might seem "gross" or "eewy" but it's part of nature and as long as you're keeping yourself and your growing area clean, the worms themselves are unlikely to pose a threat to you or your plants. However, I would interpret it as a sign that these plants need to be repotted into fresh potting media. Given that these are newly acquired plants and now is the right time of year, I would hope you were planning to repot soon anyway, so I suppose it's time to take the plunge.

There's lots of good information on the forum and elsewhere about repotting phals. Don't be afraid to use the search functionality!
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Old 05-21-2019, 01:43 PM
Mountaineer370 Mountaineer370 is offline
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If what you're trying to show us is near the bottom of the photo, I guess I'm not seeing it. I do see what looks like it could be a worm near the right side of the photo, next to a root. If that's what it is, that looks like a plain old earthworm. (Wouldn't fungus gnat larvae be very, very tiny?) Earthworms are nothing to panic about, but they are telling you that your orchid is in dire need of a repot. If it were me, I would take any earthworms you may find outdoors to a shady spot with bare, damp earth, and turn them loose. I don't find them yucky at all. They are really very beneficial creatures in our ecosystem, but they don't belong in our orchid pots.

Ah, I just realized perhaps your photo got rotated, as many seem to, and what you are describing as the bottom is what I'm seeing on the right?
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Old 05-21-2019, 03:13 PM
rbarata rbarata is offline
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I can't see nothing...excep that your phal needs water.
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Old 05-21-2019, 04:07 PM
Bloom152 Bloom152 is offline
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Thank you guys!! I just needed clarification and affirmation. It may seem silly and naive to you all, but to be honest I have never crossed an earth worm in my orchid medium before, and I also live in a dry mountain environment so earthworms are not very common especially that tiny! I picked this phal up knowing it was going to be a bit of a rescue case and I would rather ask a silly question to confirm that this critter is harmless than find out it is possibly a problem and then put my orchid through even more stress with a second repot if I had to treat it.

Thank you for easing my mind!!!

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Old 05-21-2019, 08:48 PM
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Question... if this is a fresh repot, what are you repotting it in ??? I have never seen earthworms as a contaminant in new orchid bark. When the bark breaks down and becomes dirt-like is when they might show up.
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Old 05-21-2019, 09:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roberta View Post
Question... if this is a fresh repot, what are you repotting it in ??? I have never seen earthworms as a contaminant in new orchid bark. When the bark breaks down and becomes dirt-like is when they might show up.
I think Bloom was saying that they were planning to repot (once), and wanted to avoid having to repot a second time, for instance if the worms were something harmful that had to be treated and would need a second repot to eliminate. But I also could have misread or misinterpreted it as well.

I think what you're saying is what happened. The bark as well as the moss have broken down into a fine detritus. There may also have been some peat in the mix that's decayed enough to start falling apart. Moisture retentive and fine, organic particles are excellent conditions for earthworms who can find their way into pots in a variety of ways (birds drop them, pots sitting on the ground, etc).
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Old 05-21-2019, 10:48 PM
Bloom152 Bloom152 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrHappyRotter View Post
I think Bloom was saying that they were planning to repot (once), and wanted to avoid having to repot a second time, for instance if the worms were something harmful that had to be treated and would need a second repot to eliminate. But I also could have misread or misinterpreted it as well.

I think what you're saying is what happened. The bark as well as the moss have broken down into a fine detritus. There may also have been some peat in the mix that's decayed enough to start falling apart. Moisture retentive and fine, organic particles are excellent conditions for earthworms who can find their way into pots in a variety of ways (birds drop them, pots sitting on the ground, etc).

MrHappyRotter is right. It is most definitely NOT a fresh medium. I just wanted to find out before I repotted in case I needed to treat it. She'll be in fresh medium asap
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Old 05-22-2019, 03:14 AM
aliceinwl aliceinwl is offline
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Itís really tough to tell at this resolution, but it almost looks broadly segmented like some type of tenebrionid beetle larva. The proportions look off for a European night crawler type earthworm so if it is a worm, it may be something more exotic.
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Old 05-22-2019, 12:05 PM
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Repotting should cure it, whatever it is... rinse off the roots. But even if an egg or two clings, in fresh bark the environment won't be conducive to the critters.
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