Asked June 4, 2017, 9:01 AM EDT

We recently purchased nematodes from a mail order source. Are these an effective method of pest control? We have a large yard in Towson with pets that love to be outdoors. Any additional recommendations for positive pest control are welcome! Thank you in advance.

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

You did not mention what the pest is that you are trying to control. There are some situations where beneficial nematodes may be useful in controlling specific pests (e.g., white grubs in turfgrass). The environmental conditions need to be 'perfect' for these tiny organisms to be effective; regular moisture is one of those conditions when they are seeking hosts.

It will not hurt but these nematode applications are not effective against general pests as these tiny 'worms' are not broad-spectrum in action. Nematodes are specific as to the pest that they will attack successfully.

All of our recommendations are based on IPM (integrated pest management), which always seeks the least toxic alternative for garden solutions. You need to become familiar with your plants, their growth habit and
necessary conditions for good growth. Monitor your plants and look for potential problems. Identify the pest, learn the life cycle, and the best time to take action. It is possible that beneficial insects may control the pest
naturally. If your plants/turf are growing well and the pest problems are under control, then you do not need to spray.
It may be helpful to view our publication "IPM - A Common Sense Approach to Managing Your Landscape."