Beneficial nematodes are microscopic, whitish to transparent, unsegmented worms. They are called “beneficial” because they seek out and parasitize harmful insects in the soil. There are thousands of kinds of beneficial nematodes, each with their particular feeding preferences. Remember, Nematodes actively search for insects, insect pupa and insect larvae in places that are consistently moist. There are more than 250 susceptible insect species of harmful insects that Beneficial nematodes will target, including white grubs, termites, Peach tree borers, fire ants, stink bugs, fleas, chinch bugs, field crickets and flea beetles.
What does this mean to you? Nematodes can be used instead of chemicals to control pests in the lawn and vegetable garden!
Backbone Valley Nursery sells and recommends the Guardian/Lawn Patrol Nematodes. Under ideal conditions, “Guardian/Lawn Patrol Nematodes” can survive more than 90 days without a host insect. Once it locates and enters a host, it will kill the host, reproduce within it, then the offspring will exit in search of more host insects.
Nematodes are best applied when the soil is moist and can be kept moist for several days. Irrigate the day before before application-the soil should be moist but not soggy. Mix up the solution of nematodes in cool, preferably distilled water, pour into a sprayer and spray directly to the lawn or soil area. “Watering-in” the Nematodes after application will put them in contact with the soil where the target insects live. Guardian/Lawn Patrol Nematodes are best applied in the evening when it is cool and the sun is not out. Soil temperature should not be below 60 degrees. Irrigate several times over the next two weeks to keep the soil moist while the nematodes “do their work”. You can follow-up a week or so after application to see if grubs are parasitized. Look for red or yellow-brown infected grub larvae or pupae. A second application of “Guardian/Lawn Patrol Nematodes” about 2 weeks after the first will enhance control of target pests. Remember to keep the soil moist for at least two weeks each time they are applied.