These thick, black worms with a stripe down their backs have toxic slime that can cause an allergic reaction. The worms carry parasites that can lead to meningitis, according to WFTS.
“It actually vomits up this caustic substance that can cause problems,” Roy Beckford, an agriculture agent in Lee County, said last year when the insects were found in Cape Coral.
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The Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission told WFTS there is no need to call 911 if you spot a New Guinea flatworm. Instead you can kill them by pouring boiling water on them and then picking them up with a plastic bag.
While they are dangerous to humans, the biggest threat the insects pose is to the environment. They have no natural predators and can destroy anything in their path including trees, small creatures and vegetation.
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