It's commonly known that there are pathogenic nematodes which can cause damage to plants, but did you know that there are species of nematodes which are actually used to control pests? We refer to these beneficial nematodes as entomopathogenic nematodes. We like to think of beneficial nematodes as a fantastic starting place for those new to biocontrol. Why? Because they truly work so well, AND they are compatible with many pesticides and fungicides. In other words, even conventional growers can seamlessly integrate nematodes into their operation without forfeiting the use of various conventional pesticides they may be using in their IPM program. Sound too good to be true? We know these little roundworms are extremely tough and efficacious. As an example, nematodes can actually freeze their metabolism in the absence of adequate food or oxygen, but continue to survive until circumstances improve. This state is called "cryptobiosis". Additionally, after the 1981 Columbia space shuttle disaster, nematodes were the only known survivors.
When you are considering which nematodes to purchase, consider not only the correct speci you need to control the problematic pest at hand, but also the production method. Nematodes produced "in vivo" tend to yield a very high numbers of infective juveniles which are largely responsible for the killing of pests. This production method utilizes wax worm cadavers to breed healthy nematodes, which contain a very high level of infective bacteria (see the featured diagram of the life cycle). In vivo nematodes also requires a much lower application rate per sq. ft. of soil when compared with "in vitro" nematodes.
Our Sierra nematodes are produced in vivo and yield exceptional results for our customers. For more information about Sierra nematode production, species available, and some guidelines for speci and pest pairing, refer to this link or feel free to contact us directly for more information.