Insecticidal nematodes – Insect Control

Q: What do you think about using beneficial nematodes for soil pests? I’ve heard a little about them, but wanted to know your thoughts. How big is that industry? Are they used for home gardens or commercial farmers? or both? Are they effective and safe?

A: Insecticidal nematodes are a great concept but getting them to perform as advertised is a tough job. These tiny soil worms are typically sold in a dormant state on a piece of sponge. You soak the sponge in water to activate the nematodes then apply the water to the area where you need insect control. Problems arise, though, in determining if you are getting live nematodes on the sponge and if they survive after being applied. These creatures require moist soil and an abundance of host pests in order to stay active. Otherwise they die off. In my view, they work better in greenhouse situations rather than for grub or flea control.