Beneficial Nematodes (by Carol Anderson)

I went one step further this year in my war against Japanese Beetles. I applied
beneficial nematodes to my lawn. I used Steinermema and Heterorhabditis
nematodes which are the only alternative to a chemical insecticide for the control
of a wide range of soil inhabiting insects. The product I used is called Lawn Guard.
It can be mixed and handled without protective clothing and you can continue to
enjoy your yard immediately after application.

How does this work?

First of all, the soil conditions have to be very wet in order that the nematodes
can migrate deep enough into the soil to penetrate the grub. I applied the
nematodes while it was raining and when more rain was predicted over night.
Otherwise, you have to irrigate your lawn both before and after the application so
that there is at least 2 to 3 inches of water depth to be sure the nematode is
washed down through the grass and into the soil.

Apply the beneficial nematodes in early spring through fall. As long as the soil
temperature is between 10 degrees C (50 degrees F) and 28 degrees C (82
degrees F). Early morning and late evening are the best times to apply as
nematodes are ultraviolet sensitive. Spring applications are necessary when the
grubs are present in the soil. Fall applications can begin in late August when grubs
are present in the soil gain. Fall applications are the most effective as the grubs
are small and close to the surface.

I used a hose end sprayer to apply the nematodes. I was able to order it with the
nematodes. I purchased and applied 50 million nematodes on a lawn that is
approximately 10,000 square feet in size. The nematodes come on a sponge
which is mixed with tepid water in a bucket, then they are transferred to the hose
end sprayer and applied.

The task was a bit labour intensive. I took about 2 hours to apply 25 million. I
applied the nematodes in two different evenings, 25 million at a time.
I plan to reapply in the fall, hopefully when rain is predicted so that irrigation is
not so necessary.

The nematodes are available through NIC (Natural Insect Control), 3737 Netherby
Road, Stevensville, Ontario, L0S 1S0. The nematodes can be shipped to you. They
come on ice and must be refrigerated immediately. They can remain in your
refrigerator for up to 8 weeks.

For more information visit

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