Beneficial Nematodes |

Fighting the war against bad bugs with beneficial nematodes

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Gardening can be tough for organic gardeners. Especially on those days when you walk out to enjoy your garden, only to see your beautiful roses or hibiscus flowers covered with disgusting and ravenous Japanese beetles. Sometimes it can be tempting to run to the store and buy a big bottle of a chemical pesticide, and wipe those nasty pests off the face of the planet. (deep breath)

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But, in the long run, chemical pesticides do more harm than good in the war against bad bugs. So, in our constant quest to keep the bad bug population down to a manageable number, it’s good to know that we can turn to beneficial predators rather than chemical pesticides, and beneficial nematodes are one of the good guys.

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The other night, I sprayed 7 million beneficial nematodes around my yard – it was very satisfying. This is the third time I’ve sprayed beneficial nematodes in my yard, and I’ve noticed a significant decrease in the amount of flea beetles in my gardens. The Japanese beetle population seemed smaller last year too. But you can’t get rid of Japanese beetles just by spraying your yard alone, since they can fly and lay eggs in all the neighbors yards. Every little bit helps though, so I will continue to do this every year.

How about you. Do you use any beneficial insects to wage war on the bad bugs in your garden? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below.

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6 Responses to Fighting the war against bad bugs with beneficial nematodes

  1. Bridget says:

    Where do you buy your nematodes? I’ve ordered them before, but was wondering if any MN stores carry them.

  2. Maddy Karpiak says:

    Found these caterpillars today7/4/15. Don’t know what they will become, by I have a hunch that you will know. Happy Independence Day

    • Oh, Maddy! Lucky you! I see that the plant you found them on is pink pussy toes. I believe these are the caterpillars from the American Lady butterfly (Vanessa virginiensis). They look like a later instar so they’re probably ready to pupate soon. Put one in a big, ventilated Mason jar with some of the pussy toe leaves and a few sticks they can hang their chrysalis from. Within a few days it will probably form the chrysalis. The butterfly will emerge in 2-3 weeks. I’m jealous!! Let us know how it does.

    • Maddy Karpiak says:

      My American Lady caterpillar pupated today. I’m so excited to see it become a butterfly. This is the first time I have attempted this, so if you have any tips or can point me to a resource, I would be grateful. By the way, love listening to you and Doug on Sunday mornings.

    • We kept our swallowtail chrysalis in a Mason jar on the kitchen counter. It has to hang from something so the butterfly can fill the wings from a hanging position. A few hours after it emerged, we opened the jar in the garden and out it flew.

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