Predatory nematodes prove that big scary things come in microscopic packages. These tiny terrors eat other animals and will even resort to cannibalism. Wormlike in appearance, the adults are known as the “double-death” predators. Nematodes control an array of bugs that have life stages in the soil (i.e. beetle larvae). Many of the nematode victims deserve no mercy. Piggish bugs like the cucumber beetle, cutworms, and gypsy moths all deserve the demise delivered by predatory nematodes.
Eat Your Heart Out, Ridley Scott
Some species of predatory nematodes are hermaphroditic with each sex capable of reproduction. The eggs owns a toughness usually reserved for far fetched alien flicks. The eggs can survive freezing and can go without oxygen.
Adults are wormlike in appearance with a transparent body. The intensely curious need only a microscope (and lots of time on their hands) to see what a nematode just ingested.
While many nematodes inflict harm on plant (root-knot nematodes), animal (trichina worm), and human (pinworms), predatory nematodes benefit the life cycle typically found on a well-maintained garden or farm. The tiny worms are on a constant hunt for food, wriggling through soil or plants in search of unsuspecting morsels. This persistent movement mixes up the surrounding soil, which keeps the media healthy for the ecosystem.
SpongeBob on Steroids
Predatory nematodes are even more invaluable in the bug control department. Flea infestation in the yard? Set loose some nematodes. Japanese beetles devouring everything including fence posts? Find their larvae in the spring and let the nematodes feast. The best way to have predatory nematodes in your soil is to go through websites like Nature’s Control or go to any of the five Fifth Season stores. The purchased nematodes are typically come on a sponge which you will put into a full watering can. The sponge can be cut in half or more since the whole sponge can treat up to 2500 square feet! Plus, the population of each sponge is a million inhabitants!
Then, it’s as easy as sprinkling the yard or plot with the nematode-rich water. That’s it. The rest is up to (a voracious) nature.