Gardening Articles: Edibles :: Vegetables

Beneficial Nematodes (page 4 of 4)

by Dan Hickey

Choosing a Supplier

How will you know if the nematodes have arrived at your home alive and well? Unless you test the product on water-covered grubs in a bucket, you won't. If you want viable nematodes delivered to your door, you should pick a reputable supplier. Choose a company that sells several different nematode species. Ask how long they've been selling them and which target pests each of the nematode species controls. You should get a pretty good sense of the supplier's expertise. After you get the nematodes, it's up to you.

Beneficial nematodes attack many soil-dwelling insects, but not all of them. Control of some insects is questionable. For example, researchers say the beneficial nematodes commercially available may or may not be effective in controlling Japanese beetles (white grubs), however nematode suppliers claim a combination of Heterorhabditis and Steinernema will do the trick. Also, nematodes shipped in clay or granule form may not be certified organic. Ask your supplier if they ship nematodes on live hosts. An application of 100 million nematodes will typically cover 2,000 square feet and cost between $15 and $22. If you've got a severe insect problem, however, you may want to double the recommended density to increase their effectiveness.

Dan Hickey is a former editor at National Gardening.

Photography by Keith Weller/USDA-ARS

Choosing a Supplier

How will you know if the nematodes have arrived at your home alive and well? Unless you test the product on water-covered grubs in a bucket, you won't. If you want viable nematodes delivered to your door, you should pick a reputable supplier. Choose a company that sells several different nematode species. Ask how long they've been selling them and which target pests each of the nematode species controls. You should get a pretty good sense of the supplier's expertise. After you get the nematodes, it's up to you.

Beneficial nematodes attack many soil-dwelling insects, but not all of them. Control of some insects is questionable. For example, researchers say the beneficial nematodes commercially available may or may not be effective in controlling Japanese beetles (white grubs), however nematode suppliers claim a combination of Heterorhabditis and Steinernema will do the trick. Also, nematodes shipped in clay or granule form may not be certified organic. Ask your supplier if they ship nematodes on live hosts. An application of 100 million nematodes will typically cover 2,000 square feet and cost between $15 and $22. If you've got a severe insect problem, however, you may want to double the recommended density to increase their effectiveness.

Dan Hickey is a former editor at the National Gardening Association.

Photography by Keith Weller/USDA-ARS

Viewing page 4 of 4
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