Choosing the right Nematode

Beneficial Nematodes are acknowledged as one of the most effective control options for many damaging soil pests in the garden.

The Nematodes actively seek out and invade the pest through natural body openings, at which point they release a symbiotic bacteria to kill the pest and create an environment for the nematodes to reproduce.

A major part of their effectiveness is the distinct bacteria delivered by the nematode, which is damaging to target pests only. Each nematode carries a different bacteria.

Different species of Beneficial Nematodes also exist with different habits. Steinernema species stay closer to the soil surface and ambush passing prey while Heterorhabditis species are deeper in the soil and move to seek out less mobile pests

Choosing the right nematode will depend on the pest you are trying to control –

  • Lawn Grubs – such as African Black Beetle, cockchafers, Argentine Scarab are controlled using Heterorhabditis zealandica, which lives deeper in the soil closer to the lower root zone attacked by the grub larvae
  • Caterpillars such as Armyworm and Cutworm are controlled with Steinernema carpocapsae and are ambushed nearer or above the soil surface
  • Flea larvae and pupae exist at the top of the soil and are controlled with Steinernema carpocapsae
  • Mole Crickets (imported Changa mole cricket) are controlled using Heterorhabditis zealandica
  • Termites can also be controlled by injecting Steinernema carpocapsae in the supplied gel formulation directly to the tunnels to be carried back to the chamber
  • Fungus Gnats can be controlled both indoor and outside with Steinernema feltiae as the larvae are not too deep in the soil

Choosing the right Beneficial Nematode is imperative, as this defines both the style of the nematode and also the bacteria it carries

It is important to correctly identify the pest causing damage, and also the damage occurring. Some law grubs are present in the soil but either of a species or in such low numbers that they will not cause any damage and the grass can recover naturally. The benefit of using Beneficial Nematodes is that they act quickly and can be applied once damage is occurring and is visible, which allows for suitable timing of Beneficial Nematode application relevant to the pest present.

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