What are beneficial nematodes?

If you’re entirely new to the topic of beneficial nematodes, you might think, great, they can kill my pests for me, but what are they?

Beneficial nematodes are microscopic segmented roundworms that occur naturally in soil around the world. There are more than 20,000 nematode species, but the ones used for pest control are entomopathogenic nematodes — aka insect-parasitic nematodes — from the families Steinernematidae and Heterorhabditidae.

These insect-parasitic nematodes enter the bodies of soil-dwelling pests through openings in the skin, such as the mouth or anus. Once inside, the nematodes release a bacteria that poisons the host pest and breaks down host tissue for the nematode to eat (pretty gnarly, right?). The host insect dies within 48 hours.

A nematode’s life cycle includes 6 stages:

  • Egg
  • Four juvenile stages
  • Adult

The third juvenile stage is when nematodes seek out new prey to infect. During this stage, they’re called infective juveniles.

The nematodes reproduce inside a host’s body, and the young feed on it until they’ve consumed the whole thing. Then, hundreds of thousands of infective juveniles leave that host and move on to hunt down more insect pests, repeating the process over and over again until there are no pests left.

Beneficial nematodes:
Deadly for pests, safe for everyone else… including pets!

Are you reluctant to use insecticides on your lawn and garden for fear of harming pollinators and other beneficial insects? You don’t have to worry about that with nematodes. Nematodes only target specific insects and have no effect on others.

The beneficial nematodes we use are also perfectly safe for pets and people. They’re harmless to all mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and aquatic life. They won’t damage your plants or grass, either.

Beneficial nematodes are so safe as a means of pest control that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) doesn’t even require registration for their use. We can apply beneficial nematodes to your lawn and garden and you can have total peace of mind. Only the pests need to worry.