Beneficial Nematodes to eliminate grubs and   insect pests
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nematodes Biological Control Of Pest Insects With Nematodes.

Beneficial nematodes are becoming much more popular for soil pest control. These microscopic, beneficial nematodes actively hunt, penetrate and destroy over 200 pests from up to 100 insect families.  These pests are ones that either directly injure our desired lawn or plants, or immature grub stages of insects before they mature to adults that cause damage. Being natural, beneficial nematodes are safe to use around humans, children and pets.  They won’t harm non-target organisms such as bees, or pollinators. These beneficial nematodes attack the larval stages of soil-dwelling pests, leaving the plants alone. The parasitic nematodes enter their prey through body openings and release bacteria that kills their host within 48 hours. The nematodes can then reproduce inside the pest. Nematodes are recommended for use whenever pest insects are present.

Beneficial Nematodes naturally occur in soil and are used to control soil pest insects and whenever larvae or grubs are present. Like all of our products, it will not expose humans or animals to any health or environmental risks. Beneficial nematodes only attack soil dwelling insects and leave plants and earthworms alone. The beneficial nematodes enters the larva via mouth, anus or respiratory openings and starts to feed. This causes specific bacteria to emerge from the intestinal tract of the nematode. These spread inside the insect and multiply very rapidly. The bacteria convert host tissue into products which can easily be taken up by the nematodes. The soil dwelling insect dies within a few days. Beneficial nematodes are a totally safe biological control in pest insects. The Beneficial nematodes are so safe the EPA has waived the registration requirements for application.

NATURE'S BEST WAY OF KILLING Grubs and Japanese Beetles. We ship Healthy Beneficial Nematodes to all 48 States. Visit our website: or call 520-298-4400 for more information.

Though they are harmless to humans, animals, plants, and healthy earthworms, beneficial nematodes aggressively pursue insects. The beneficial nematodes can be used to control a broad range of soil inhabiting insects and above ground insects in their soil inhabiting stage of life. More than 200 species of pest insects from 100 insect families are susceptible to these nematodes. When they sense the temperature and carbon dioxide emissions of soil-borne insects, beneficial nematodes move toward their prey and enter the pest through its body openings. The nematodes carry an associated bacterium (Xenorhabdus species) that kills insects fast within 48 hours. The bacteria is harmless to humans and other organisms and cannot live freely in nature. Several generations of nematodes may live and breed within the dead insect, feeding on it as a food source. When the food source is gone, they migrate into the soil in search of a new host. When the pest population is eliminated, the beneficial nematodes die off and biodegrade. Beneficial nematodes are so effective, they can work in the soil to kill the immature stages of garden pests before they become adults.


Beneficial nematodes infest grubs and other pest insects that are known to destroy lawns and plants.

The Nematodes are effective against grubs and the larval or grub stage of Japanese Beetles, Northern Masked Chafer, European Chafer, Rose Chafer, Fly larvae, Oriental Beetles, June Beetles, Flea beetles, Bill-bugs, Cut-worms, Army worms, Black Vine Weevils, Strawberry Root Weevils, Fungus Gnats, Sciarid larvae, Sod Web-worms, Girdler, Citrus Weevils, Maggots and other Dip-tera, Mole Crickets, Iris Borer, Root Maggot, Cabbage Root Maggot and Carrot Weevils.

Beneficial nematodes belong to one of two genera: Steinernema and Heterorhabditis are commercially available in the U.S. Steinernema is the most widely studied beneficial nematode because it is easy to produce. Heterorhabditis is more difficult to produce but can be more effective against certain insects, such as the white grubs, and Japanese beetles.

How beneficial nematodes work:
The life cycle of beneficial nematodes consists of six distinct stages: an egg stage, four juvenile stages and the adult stage. The adult spends its life inside the host insect. The third juvenile stage, called a dauer, enters the bodies of insects (usually the soil dwelling larval form. Some nematodes seek out their hosts, while others wait for the insect to come to them. Host seeking nematodes travel through the soil the thin film of water that coats soil particles. They search for insect larvae using built-in homing mechanisms that respond to changes in carbon dioxide levels and temperature. They also follow trails of insect excrement. After a single nematode finds and enters an insect through its skin or natural openings, the nematode release a toxic bacteria that kills its host, usually within a day or two. In less than two weeks the nematodes pass through several generations of adults, which literally fill the insect cadaver. Steinernema reproduction requires at least two dauer nematodes to enter an insect, but a single Heterorhabditis can generate offspring on its own. The nematodes actively searches for insect larvae. Once inside the larva the nematodes excretes specific bacteria from its digestive trac before it starts to feed. The bacteria multiply very rapid and convert the host tissue into products that the nematodes take up and use for food. The larva dies within a few days and the color changes from white-beige to orange-red or red-brown. The nematodes multiply and develop within the dead insect. As soon as the nematodes are in the infectious third stage, they leave the old host and start searching for new larvae. Infected grubs turn color from white-beige to red brown 2-4 days after application and becomes slimy. After a few weeks, dead larvae disintegrate completely and are difficult to find.

Beneficial nematodes are also very effective against termites, German cockroaches, flies, ant, and fleas.

                       Healthy and infected larvae


Beneficial Nematodes are very easy to use. Mix with water and spray or sprinkle on the soil along garden plants or lawn. Put the contents of the Beneficial nematodes in a bucket of water and stir to break up any lumps, and let the entire solution soak for a few minutes. Application can be made using a water-can, irrigation system, knapsack or sprayer. On sprayer use a maximum pressure to avoid blockage, all sieves should be removed. The sprayer nozzle opening should be at least 1/2 mm. Evenly spread the spraying solutions over the ground area to be treated. Continuous mixing should take place to prevent the nematodes from sinking to the bottom. After application keep the soil moist during the first two weeks for the nematodes to get establish. For a small garden the best method is using a simple sprinkling or water can to apply the Beneficial nematodes to the soil. Apply nematodes before setting out transplants; for other pest insects, Japanese Beetles and grubs, apply whenever symptomatic damage from insects is detected. Best to apply water first if soil is dry.Application and amount for 50 and 100 Mil. Nematodes. The 50 Mil. + nematodes are packed in an inert carrying material that will dissolve in water when mixed. You can use a watering can, pump sprayer; hose end sprayer and irrigation system, backpack sprayers, or motorized sprayer. The 10 Mil. 50 Mil. and 100 Mil. Nematodes mix 1 teaspoon per gallon of water. The Large yard size: 1/2 Acre Size (50 Million) you can use up to 40 Gallons of water The Acre size 100 Mil. Nematodes you can use up to 100 Gallons of water. Evenly spread the solution over the ground areas to be treated. Continuous mixing should take place to prevent the nematodes from sinking to the bottom of the container. To avoid blockages, remove all filters from the sprayer. You can sprinkle the soil with water again after application to move the nematodes into the soil. Apply nematodes as soon as possible for best product performance. Keep the soil most for the first week after application.

Proper storage and handling is essential to nematode health.

Always follow the package instructions for the best method of mixing nematodes. Formulations vary depending on the species and target insect. Nematodes can be stored in the refrigerator up to a month (not the freezer) before they are mixed with water, but once the nematodes are diluted in water, they cannot be stored. Also, nematodes shouldn’t be stored in hot vehicles, or left in spray tanks for long periods of time.

Nematodes need moisture in the soil for movement (if the soil is too dry or compact, they may not able to search out hosts) and high humidity if they are used against foliage pests. Watering the insect-infested area before and after applying nematodes keeps the soil moist and helps move them deeper into the soil. Care should be taken not to soak the area because nematodes in too much water cannot infect.

Exposure to UV light or very high temperatures can kill nematodes.
Apply nematodes in the early evening or late afternoon when soil temps are lower and UV incidence is lower as well (cloudy or rainy days are good too). Nematodes function best with soil temperatures between 48Fº and 93Fº day time temperatures.

Application is usually easy.

In most cases, there is no need for special application equipment. Most nematodes species are compatible with pressurized, mist, electrostatic, fan and aerial sprayers! Hose-end sprayers, pump sprayers, and watering cans are effective applicators as well. Nematodes are even applied through irrigation systems on some crops. Check the label of the nematode species to use the best application method. Repeat applications if the insect is in the soil for a longer period of time. There is no need for masks or specialized safety equipment. Insect parasitic nematodes are safe for plants and animals (worms, birds, pets, children). Because they leave no residues, application can be made anytime before a harvest and there is no re-entry time after application.

How to use beneficial nematodes:

For the home gardener, localized spraying is probably the quickest and easiest way to get the nematodes into the soil. Producers ship beneficial nematodes in the form of dry granules, powder type clay, and sponges. All of these dissolve in water and release the millions of nematodes. Each nematode ready to start searching for an insect in your lawn or garden. Nematodes should be sprayed on infested areas at the time when pests is in the soil. Timing is important, or else you will have to repeat the application. Northern gardeners should apply the nematodes in the spring, summer and fall, when the soil contains insect larvae. Most of the beneficial nematodes are adaptive to cold weather. In fact , the very best time to control white grubs is in the spring and fall. If your in a warmer climate, beneficial nematodes are effective all year.

Fertilizers should be avoided roughly 2 weeks prior to and after nematode application, because they may be adversely affected by high nitrogen content.

Some pesticides work well with nematodes when their mutual exposure is limited while other pesticides may kill nematodes. Check labels or specific fact sheets to find out. Some chemicals to avoid are bendiocarb, chlorpyrifos, ethoprop, and isazophos. Fungicides to avoid are anilazine, dimethyl benzyl, ammonium chloride, fenarimol, and mercurous chloride. The herbicides, 2,4-D and trichlopyr and nematicide, fenamiphos, should be avoided as well.

During hot weather release nematodes in the evening or afternoon when temperature is cooler. Release once or twice a year or until infestation subsides. Nematodes are shipped in the infectious larvae stage of their life cycle and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks. Always release very early in the morning or late in the late afternoon.     
Why are these organisms beneficial?

Beneficial nematodes seek out and kill all stages of harmful soil-dwelling insects. They can be used to control a broad range of soil-inhabiting insects and above-ground insects in their soil-inhabiting stage of life.

Parasitic nematodes are beneficial for eliminating pest insects. First, they have such a wide host range that they can be used successfully on numerous insect pests. The nematodes' nonspecific development, which does not rely on specific host nutrients, allows them to infect a large number of insect species.

Nematodes enter pest bugs while they are still alive, then they multiply inside the bugs (which eventually die) and finally burst out of the dead bodies.  The number of nematodes inside a single bug (depending on the species) ranges from 5,000 to 10,000.  Although you can barely see one young nematode with your naked eye, large groups of these tiny wigglers pouring out of the dead insects are easy to see.  Then the nematodes wriggle off to find other insects to "invade," starting the whole cycle all over again.

Second, nematodes kill their insect hosts within 48 hours. As mentioned earlier, this is due to enzymes produced by the Xenorhabdus bacteria.

 Also, the infective juveniles can live for some time without nourishment as they search for a host.

Finally, there is no evidence that parasitic nematodes or their symbiotic bacteria can develop in vertebrates. This makes nematode use for insect pest control safe and environmentally friendly. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ruled that nematodes are exempt from registration because they occur naturally and require no genetic modification by man. Beneficial nematodes can be an excellent tool in the lawn and garden to control certain pest insects. They can be used with organic gardening and are safe for kids and pets.


What is a nematode? Nematodes are microscopic, whitish to transparent, unsegmented worms. They occupy almost every conceivable habitat on earth, both aquatic and terrestrial, and are among the most common multicelled organisms. Nematodes are generally wormlike and cylindrical in shape, often tapering at the head and tail ends; they are sometimes called roundworms or eelworms. There are thousands of kinds of nematodes, each with their particular feeding behavior -- for example, bacterial feeders, plant feeders, animal parasites, and insect parasites, to name a few.

Insect-Parasitic Nematodes. Traditionally, soil-inhabiting insect pests are managed by applying pesticides to the soil or by using cultural practices, for example, tillage and crop rotation. Biological control can be another important way to manage soil-inhabiting insect pests. A group of organisms that shows promise as biological control agents for soil pests are insect-parasitic nematodes. These organisms, which belong to the families Steinernematidae and Heterorhabditidae, have been studied extensively as biological control agents for soil-dwelling stages of insect pests. These nematodes occur naturally in soil and possess a durable, motile infective stage that can actively seek out and infect a broad range of insects, but they do not infect birds or mammals. Because of these attributes, as well as their ease of mass production and exemption from EPA registration, a number of commercial enterprises produce these nematodes as biological "insecticides."

How to order Beneficial Nematodes: All nematodes are not the same. Buglogical nematodes are more tolerant of high tempertures than any other brands. It is best to order biological control nematodes and have them delivered directly to you from a reliable source.. This helps insure that the nematodes you are buying are still alive. Nematodes do not live very long in storage. Therefore, buying nematodes that are stocked on a store shelf is very risky.

Suppliers:  Buglogical Control Systems, Inc. PO Box 32046, Tucson, AZ 85751-2046  Phone:  520-298-4400                  


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Davidson, J.A., S.A. Gill, and M.J. Raupp. 1992. Controlling Clearwing Moths with Entomopathogenic Nematodes: The Dogwood Borer Case Study. J. of Arboriculture. 18(2):81-84.

Georgis, R. and G.O. Poinar. 1989. Field Effectiveness of Entomophilic Nematodes Neoaplectana andHeterorhabditis.Pages 213-224, In A.R. Leslie and R.L. Metcalf (eds.). Integrated Pest Management for Turfgrass and Ornamentals.United States Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC.

Gill, S., J.A. Davidson, and M.J. Raupp. 1992. Control of Peachtree Borer Using Entomopathogenic Nematodes. J. of Arboriculture.18(4):184-187

Kaya, H.K. 1985.Entomogenous Nematodes for Insect Control in IPM Systems. Pages 283-303, In M.A. Hoy and D.C. Herzog (eds.).Biological Control in Agricultural IPM Systems,New York: Academic Press.

Kaya, H.K. and L.R. Brown. 1986.Field Application of Entomogenous Nematodes for Biological Control of Clear-Wing Moth Borers in Alder and Sycamore Trees. J. of Arboriculture. 12(6):150-154.

Owen, N.P., M.J.Raupp, C.S. Sadof, and B.C. Bull. 1991. Influence of Entomophagus Nematodes and Irrigation on Black Vine Weevil in Euonymus fortunei (Turcz.) Hard. Mazz.Beds.J.Environ.Hort.9(3):109-112.

Poinar, G.O. 1986. Entomophagous Nematodes. Pages 95-121, In H.Franz(ed.).Biological Plant and Health Protection, Fortschritte der Zoologie, Bd.32.G.Fischer Verlog, Stuttgart, New York. Reprint.

Rutherford, T.A., D. Trotter, and J.M. Webster. 1987. The Potential of Heterorhabditid Nematodes as Control Agents of Root Weevils. The Canadian Ent. 119:67-73.

Shetlar, D.J. 1989. Entomogenous Nematodes for Control of Turfgrass Insects with Notes on Other Biological Control Agents.Pages 225-253, InA.R. Leslie and R.L. Metcalf (eds.) Integrated Pest Management for Turfgrasses and Ornamentals. United States Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC.

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