There are fifty million nematodes in my wine fridge. That’s not a sentence I ever imagined writing in this lifetime. The nematodes arrived in the mail yesterday and as the weatherman is predicting a lengthy dry spell it seemed best to store the little beauties in an appropriate place until the forecast changes. That only makes sense to you if you’re a biologist or a nerd-gardener. I’m decidedly not a biologist, I might be the latter.
On the off chance that you are neither a biologist or a nerd-gardener, but you are a person interested in eradicating Japanese beetles from your garden, let me explain. Nematodes are beneficial insects. In the world of organic gardening, beneficial insects are tiny friends that can save your garden.
They can silently, effectively, and non-toxically control the grubs of Japanese beetles and masked chafer beetles. They attack soil-dwelling pests like cutworms, corn earworms, cabbage root maggots, weevils, wireworms, armyworms, and even flea larvae. What’s not to love?
The reason I did not immediately rip open the package and set them loose, is that their application is important. They need to be applied just before a rain so that they can get down into the ground and do their dirty work. Sure, you could use a hose to simulate rain, but that is only practical if you’re just applying five million. We’re talking about 50 million. I don’t want to lose a single tode, so ours are residing in the wine fridge where they can enjoy their optimum storage temperature of 55 degrees until the weather cooperates.
If you’re looking for a source for nematodes, I recommend Gardens Alive. But don’t pay full price, sign up for their newsletter and get the $25 off coupon or bid your time and wait for them to make an offer (they will).
Milky Spore is another option if Japanese beetles are your issue, but it’s a little more pricey. We’ve seen better results with nematodes. A quick search on Organic Gardening website found only nematodes recommended rather than Milky Spore. One other benefit is that nematodes go after even more bad guys than Milky Spore.