Leeches: Are they really so menacing?
Do you know the advantages of having leeches in your pond? You’ll see, they really aren’t so terrifying! Of the 700 different species of leeches, in Canada only one leech specie will chase your baby toe in the water: Macrobdella Decors also called the medicinal leech of North America. The other leech species that feed on blood will choose frogs, snails, turtles, and ducks over your tender flesh any day.
Since human blood is not always easy to find frogs are the second favourite food for our leech friend. Better than baiting leeches with bottled contraptions of rotting meat, consider going at the source of the problem by reducing the leech population. Reduce frogs, reduce leeches.
Who eats frogs? Small mouthed bass eat frogs and tadpoles and they are suited to our warmer pond water in the summer. Introducing a few bass into your pond won’t eliminate all frogs, nor all leeches, it will simply help control a problem situation. So what are you to do when a hungry leech attaches onto your leg? Don’t panic! If you are patient, you can let the leech take breakfast then it will detach itself as quietly as can be, and go and hide at the bottom of the pond for weeks or months. Remember, you won’t feel any pain from the leech, only a heat sensation at the dinner site. The pain comes when you try to rip off the leech from your skin. If you cannot wait for the Macrobdella Decors to finish eating, carefully dislodge it with the odour of a burning cigarette or sprinkle salt on it.
Leeches are not detested by everyone. Their analgesic, anesthetic, and anticoagulant virtues have made many micro-surgeons happy. So just remember, there is only one kind of leech in all of Canada that wants your blood, if it finds you it won’t hurt, in fact it is inviting you to become a part of its food chain. Just stock your pond with small mouthed bass, and eventually you’ll get your blood back!