Biological Warfare, But in a Good Way

nematodes1

I fight bugs with with more bugs.

I just got my nematodes in the mail! Yay! Beneficial nematodes are these microscopic bugs that basically kill everything bad. They kill flies, roaches, fleas, termites, ants, lawn grubs, and more. Basically they go after everything I don’t like. They live naturally in the soil, but sometimes it’s good to give them a boost of buddies. Or, if you’re like, me and assume the balance of your yard is off, you can reintroduce them to your little ecosystem. I assume that the lady before me used pesticides. (Mainly from a lot of empty bottles in the garage.) Since I’ve moved in I’ve been trying to bring back the balance of my yard.

I learned about beneficial nematodes last summer when I had a HORRIBLE flea infestation in my yard. I hate to say it, but it was so bad I did use the poison sprays. This was at the expense of my veggie garden. If you grow plants that you eat, you can’t use the poisons. The fleas were so bad that by the time I got from my front door to my car I had to pick a couple off of me. Every time we came inside the house we had to check our legs for fleas. We used the sprays 3 times and it didn’t do anything. Once I realized that the yard flea sprays weren’t working (and they’re suppose to work immediately) I searched the web for other “green” options.

I used a combo of safe natural remedies and the fleas were taken care of completely. I have to say, I was very happy to learn that I had other options. For the yard I used the beneficial nematodes and diatomaceous earth. DE for short.

None of my local garden stores carry them. The best price I found online for the beneficial nematodes was from http://www.groworganic.com. If you live in Los Angeles or some other warm place get the Steinernema feltiae of the Beneficial Nematodes. Those are the ones that are better suited to warm climates. You’ll come across Steinernema carpocapsae but those are for cooler climates. (Which Los Angeles is not.)

Now that I learned about these awesome dudes this year I’m doing a preemptive strike. I’m hoping that I can do some of these as more of a maintenance thing rather then an Oh crap I can’t go in my yard panic what the hell do I do now thing. Especially since they work against so many bad bugs.

A quote from their website about how beneficial nematodes work:

The parasitic nematodes enter their prey through body openings and release bacteria that kills their host within 48 hours. The nematodes can then reproduce inside the pest.

Kind of like biological warfare, but in a good way.

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2 responses to “Biological Warfare, But in a Good Way

  1. I’m looking for nematodes to control my fleas, and I live in West L.A. (warm climate, but clay soil). After reading your blog, I called up Arbico Organics, and they told me to get the Steinernema Carpocapsae, not the Steinernema Feltiae, because although they recommend Carpocapsae for warmer climates, it’s more important that it have clay soil, unless the temperatures are really extreme. Feltiae does better in sandy soil. So apparently the soil composition overrides the temperature for most areas.
    Nice blog!

    • southcentralbungalow

      Cool. Good to know. My soil is sand so, I wonder if that’s why the Steinernema Feltiae worked for me.

      I also used the diatomaceous earth to battle the fleas. (I went for a combo attack.) If you live on the west side you can pick up Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth at
      Kirby’s Pet Depot:
      12112 Venice Blvd.
      Los Angeles, CA
      Phone: (310) 313-1801.

      It’s handy stuff. I also have a border of it around my house as a preventative. You can dust it under fridges, stoves, etc as well inside the house. If you’ve got silverfish, (which I hear happens a lot on the west side) it’ll get those guys too. You can also feed it to your pets as a de-wormer. And people eat it as well for health benifits. (I don’t eat it, so I don’t know what they are. But I do feed it to my cat.)

      I just dusted the DE all over the yard and then kind of swept it in. It doesn’t need to be thick, it’s just a dusting layer. Key word dust.

      Here’s a website that has a ton of info on Diatomaceous Earth: http://wolfcreekranch1.tripod.com/no_flea.html

      And as a warning, never ever buy the pool grade Diatomaceous Earth. It’s different. It’s got chemicals and has been heated and other stuff. It’s not good for people pets or your yard. Always get the “Food Grade” Diatomaceous Earth. That’s the good stuff.

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