What is a Beneficial Nematode?

These days, the push is on among professional gardeners and farmers to replace toxic chemicals with beneficial Nematodes. When most homeowners hear this, their first response is usually “Nema-what?”


A Nematode is a roundworm, and there are over 20,000 species crawling the earth. A handful of soil may contain thousands of microscopic nematodes, and some oceanic nematodes have been recorded as large as several meters in length. The creatures are found all over the globe, in diverse climates and environs.

Many Nematodes are parasitic, such as those that attack humans and animals (hookworms, for example.). So what’s so beneficial about parasitic worms? Well it’s a war zone out there in your garden, and beneficial nematodes are the good guys. Every pest has a natural enemy, and those enemies are often nematodes.

Beneficial nematodes are usually microscopic and sold in packages of several million. They are used to control many common lawn and garden pests, including: Japanese beetles, crane fly larvae (leatherjackets), weevils, rootworms, fleas, sod webworms, and several types of destructive gnat and fly.

Beneficial Nematodes feed on garden pests, then reproduce and head out to find more pests. They don’t harm other beneficial garden creatures, like earthworms or honey bees, and they don’t disturb the soil or your plants. This is a healthier alternative to chemicals of the past, such as diazinon, which harmed beneficial insects as well as garden pests.

To purchase beneficial Nematodes online for your lawn or garden try BugLogical Control Systems http://www.buglogical.com/ , or March Biological http://www.marchbiological.com/ Also check with your local garden center and nursery, or call your local university agricultural extension office.

For more information on beneficial nematodes try the University of Connecticut Integrated Pest Management (IPM) department http://www.hort.uconn.edu/ipm/ , or this helpful FAQ from the University of Florida extension office. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/IN468

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