Nematodes belong to a group of simple animals called roundworms. Many nematodes are pests of plants and animals. However, a few species invade the body of insect pests and release a pathogenic bacterium which kills the pest. These beneficial nematodes are called entomopathogenic nematodes. (Source: http://extension.umass.edu/landscape/fact-sheets/beneficial-nematodes)
With the capability to destroy a variety of insects, Organic Control Inc. (Orcon) says its line of Beneficial Nematode products is an all-natural, effective way to destroy pests that live beneath the soil. The products hit the market in February (2014), and are available in pest-specific packaging with Fire Ant Control, Grub Control and Fungus Gnat Control joining the existing Flea Destroyer and Beneficial Nematodes.
Beneficial Nematodes application tips. Each package of Beneficial Nematodes contains roughly 7 million BNs capable of treating up to 2,000 square feet. The amount of water used to mix does not matter; obviously more water will treat a larger area but will not be as BN-concentrated. Choose desired amount of water, empty package contents into water, stir and let stand 20-30 minutes. Strain out packaging material with a kitchen strainer or window screen (unless planning to topdress). Stir again and pour into tank or hose-end sprayer. Add desired amount of water, spray and continue to agitate the mixture while spraying.
If topdressing, empty package contents into water and also add 5-6 quarts of vermiculite, peat moss or sandy humus, then spread.
If injecting, strain packaging material like you would if spraying. Let stand another 30 minutes. Pour away all but last pint of liquid (BNs will have settled on bottom so don't worry). Use an eye dropper to inject a tablespoon's worth of mixture into the pest's burrow, seal the hole if possible.
TIMING – Keep out of direct sunlight. Cloudy days or evenings are the best times to apply. Always water before application and then for four days following.
Closer look at new products for 2014
Fire Ant Control. Each container is made up of millions of microscopic BNs that are so small, several thousand would fit on the head of a pin. The BNs hunt down and kill fire ant queens, workers and larvae. One container will cover up to seven fire ant mounds.
Grub Control and Fungus Gnat Control. Each container of each of these two new products holds roughly 7 million BNs and will cover up to 2,000 square feet.