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How to Get Rid of Pests in Your Garden with Beneficial Nematodes

Date Posted: August 23, 2014

Seeds of the Month Club by Mike the Gardener How to Get Rid of Pests in Your Garden with Beneficial Nematodes
photo credit: Dr. Pye's Scanmask Live Beneficial Nematodes - Kills Over 230 Bugs

When I talk to new gardeners the last thing they are thinking of is employing beneficial nematodes. In fact, most of them have never even heard of a nematode. That’s not a bad thing as it is very common. Most new home vegetable gardeners are simply trying to get a couple of tomato plants going to see if they can garden at all.

As new gardeners turn into veteran gardeners though, the use of many tools needed to build a healthy garden environment start to emerge as gardeners look for better ways to battle plant disease and pests that destroy crops.

Beneficial nematodes are one those natural pest fighting tools that home vegetable gardeners can enlist to make gardening life a bit easier, and save some crops along the way.

So what exactly are beneficial nematodes? Beneficial nematodes are microscopic roundworms that occur naturally in your soil. They are not limited to one area in the country or even the world as beneficial nematodes are everywhere.

Now that you know what a beneficial nematode is, the next logical question is, how do they work in keeping pests away from your plants. Beneficial nematodes contain within their gut a symbiotic bacteria. It is that bacteria that helps destroy pests in your home vegetable garden. When that bacteria is released, pests usually die within 48 hours. Beneficial nematodes will seek out a host to inject this bacteria, that host are the pests you are trying to destroy.

Mentioned earlier, beneficial nematodes exist throughout the world, but chances are, many home vegetable gardeners lack the amount needed to get rid of grubs, beetle larvae and other harmful pests that are doing the damage to vegetable plants. The easiest fix is to buy some. Yes you can buy beneficial nematodes. They range in price from ten dollars to fifty dollars depending on how many you want to buy. Here is an example search for beneficial nematodes on Amazon.

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How to apply your nematodes will depend on which company/brand you go with. I recommend that you follow the instructions on the back of the package. Most are sprayed or sprinkled into the area you are looking to treat, usually in early spring or fall.

This answer will depend on how much of an area you will be treating. A lot of people use nematodes to attack grubs that are eating the roots of the grass on their lawns. As you can imagine that can be a pretty sizable area. A good rule of thumb is to use about five million nematodes per half acre. That may seem like a lot, but five to ten million nematodes are the normal size that you can purchase. Because nematodes are microscopic, and because they do not travel far distances, you will need a lot of them to treat your area.

If you see a lot of beetles in your garden, damage to your crops or other signs that your garden is under attack by damaging pests, beneficial nematodes are a great organic way of eliminating this problem, and protecting your home vegetable garden.

Please share this article! Let`s get everyone gardening!

Mike the gardener

About the Author

Mike Podlesny is the author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person as well as the creator of the Seeds of the Month Club where members receive non gmo, heirloom variety seeds every month. You can listen to Mike each week on the Vegetable Gardening Podcast where he interviews gardening industry experts. Don`t forget to link up with Mike on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.


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