Nematodes for Termites: Detailed Guide for Using Beneficial Nematodes

Property owners who are looking for an effective, natural solution to their termite infestation problems should consider using nematodes.

Using beneficial nematodes for termites doesn’t have to be intimidating – and we hope our updated guide can help you to get started now during the Spring months.


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Introduction

Nematodes are microscopic organisms that can be used as a form of biological pest control. They have been proven to be both safe and highly effective in controlling termites without the use of harsh chemicals that may carry toxic dangers. According to research conducted by the University of Florida and Entomological Society of America , nematodes are capable of quickly eliminating entire colonies of termites before any property damage is done, making them an ideal choice for those wanting to protect their homes in a safe and non-toxic manner.

Nematodes work by entering the termite nest through small cracks or crevices, where they begin to feed on the insects and wreak havoc on the colony’s population. The nematode’s ability to reproduce rapidly inside a single nest allows it to spread quickly throughout an infested area and ensures it will continue to target and kill termites even after leaving its original point of entry. In addition, nematodes are also beneficial because they do not harm humans, animals, or plants – making them a reliable form of pest control with very few risks involved.

In this guide, the editorial team behind Best Termite Killer will walk you through what nematodes are, and why they are effective – and answer some of our readers’ most commonly asked questions about using nematodes for termites.

What are Nematodes?

Nematodes, also known as roundworms, are microscopic organisms that can be found in soil all around the world and come in many different shapes and sizes. Here is a quick rundown of some things you should know to better understand nematodes:

  • They feed off a variety of materials such as living organisms, fungi, bacteria, decaying matter, and even toxic chemicals like arsenic or insecticides.
  • Nematodes typically move by burrowing through the soil but they will sometimes swim through water too.
  • They reproduce rapidly and are capable of surviving in both wet and dry conditions, making them very resilient against environmental changes.
  • Even though nematodes can be found almost everywhere on Earth, only certain species have been identified as beneficial for controlling termite infestations due to their ability to hunt down and kill termites quickly and effectively without any adverse effects on humans or other living things in the area.

Beneficial Nematodes for Termites

When nematodes are placed near an infested area, they will seek out the termite colonies’ nests which usually contain several hundred thousand insects inside them, and start attacking them from within. Nematodes do this by consuming termite eggs or larvae directly.

As nematode populations grow within the termite nest, they eventually become so numerous that they overwhelm the termite population. Nematodes consume termite food sources as well as kill individual termites with their mouthparts and digestive fluids – which they inject into the termites through a process known as “injection-feeding”.

The nematode’s reproductive cycle ensures that even after leaving its original point of entry there will still be enough nematode populations present to continue targeting and killing new generations of termites until their numbers have been reduced significantly or completely eradicated from the area.

Why Nematodes Are Effective in Killing Termites

Nematode species that have been identified as beneficial for controlling termite infestations have evolved to specifically target these pests due to several factors:

  • First, most species possess specialized mouthparts which enable them to feed on soft-bodied insect larvae like those produced by some types of termite colonies.
  • Second, because nematode reproduction is extremely rapid, they ensure that there are adequate numbers of nematodes present within a colony, even after some have left it.
  • Finally, nematode mobility allows them to access difficult areas where it would otherwise be impossible for other forms of pest control methods to reach. This includes areas inside walls or beneath floorboards where most termite nests tend to form over time making it more difficult for other forms of pest control services to tackle the infestation effectively without damaging property in the process.

Benefits of Using Nematodes To Kill Termites

Using nematodes is an effective way of controlling termite populations safely while minimizing potential risks posed by using chemical treatments. This includes the potential risks posed not only towards people but also pets or plants nearby.

Nematodes do not cause any harm when released into the environment, unlike synthetic chemicals which may carry toxic substances along with them – even when they are applied correctly as directions may instruct.

If you’re looking for effective termite control that’s environmentally safe and without the potential for health consequences for anyone exposed to the chemicals – nematodes can be an excellent choice.

Potential Risks Of Using Nematodes For Termite Control

Although using nematodes comes with several benefits such as being safe for humans and animals alike – there might still be some risks associated with using these organisms.

For example, if proper precautionary measures are not taken when controlling the release rate of nematodes – you could be dealing with an overpopulation of nematodes. When this happens, nematodes may quickly deplete beneficial soil bacteria which could cause issues throughout your lawns, gardens, or landscaped areas. These risks tend to manifest in the form of a decrease in growth rate among grasses and plants in the area where nematodes are present.

Timing & Temperature Considerations for Applying Nematodes

Nematode termite control is an effective and natural way of controlling pest populations, but in order to get the most out of their use it’s important to understand when nematodes should be applied. Season, time of day, and temperature can each play a role in how nematodes will interact with termites.

Based on our experiences with nematodes, we recommend taking all of these factors into consideration.

When applying nematodes for termite control, timing is key – as nematode species vary greatly depending on the season they were collected from.

Generally speaking, nematodes work best during warmer months when temperatures range between 60-85°F (15-30°C). This ensures that there is enough heat present for the nematode eggs to hatch quickly after being released into the environment making them more effective at attacking and killing target insect larvae like those produced by certain types of termite colonies.

Releasing nematodes in the early morning or late evening hours are typically known to be the most ideal times. This is due to the fact that these time periods offer lower temperatures which make it easier for nematodes to spread throughout your property while avoiding direct sunlight which could dry them out.

When nematodes are exposed to temperatures that are too hot or too cold, they will die off quickly or become ineffective at controlling the population of targeted insects like termites.

For example, nematodes typically die off when exposed to temperatures above 95°F (35°C). On the other hand, nematode eggs or larvae may not survive when exposed to temperatures below 50°F (10°C). This is because nematode eggs need a certain level of moisture and heat in order to hatch properly – both of which can be affected by extreme temperatures.

Nematodes for Termites For Sale: Online & In Stores

Parasitic nematodes for termites are available for purchase from a variety of online sources including Amazon, gardening and pest control companies, as well as home improvement stores including those that operate online.

Before buying nematodes, it is important to make sure that the nematode species you intend to buy is specifically designed to target termites.

In terms of using nematodes for termite control, there are two main approaches:

  • Do it Yourself (DIY)
  • Hiring a professional pest control service

DIY nematode applications can be effective, but may require some trial and error to get the nematode application rate just right in order to maximize the effectiveness of your treatment.

Hiring a professional pest control service will ensure that you have access to the expert advice needed to effectively address your termite infestation while minimizing any potential risks associated with using nematodes.

When purchasing nematodes online or seeking expert advice on how best to apply them, it is important to understand the type of nematode species used and how they work in controlling termite populations.

It is also essential to follow all guidelines carefully when applying nematodes such as mixing them according to instructions and avoiding contact with human skin or eyes.

When done properly, nematodes can be an effective way of controlling termite populations while minimizing potential harm posed to family members, pets, and landscaping.

How to Apply Nematodes for Termite Control

If you do decide to go the DIY route, applying nematodes can be quite simple. While each product may have specific instructions (and you should adhere to those at all times), the process of applying nematodes generally follows a routine process. To get started, you will need the following common household items to prepare for the application process:

  • Water
  • Bowl
  • Beneficial nematodes
  • Stirring rod/stick
  • Spray bottle

From there, the steps include:

  • Step 1: Pour the water into the bowl then add the nematodes.
  • Step 2: Stir the solution and make sure that the nematodes are mixed thoroughly in the water.
  • Step 3: Let the solution sit for a few minutes. This will allow the nematodes to be released.
  • Step 4: Transfer the solution to the spray bottle.
  • Step 5: Spray the solution on the affected area. Make sure that you use the maximum spray setting of the bottle to prevent blockage of the nematodes.
  • Step 6: Shake the bottle after a few sprays to make sure that the nematodes remain mixed with the water.
  • Step 7: Re-apply the solution as necessary.

Tip: Diluting Nematodes for Subterranean Termite Colonies

It’s best to spray the nematodes starting in your garden and then into your property’s immediate perimeter. Remember that subterranean termite populations are beneath the ground, and when dealing with those infestations – homeowners can pour buckets of diluted nematodes around their yards. This is an ideal way to reach subterranean termite colonies that are actively below ground.

Tip: Don’t Fertilize Areas for Two Weeks After Application

Beneficial nematodes are prone to die when exposed to fertilizers, especially fertilizers with high nitrogen levels. If you’re planning to use nematodes for the purpose of addressing your termite issues, we suggest that you keep the soil (if you’re applying it on the ground) fertilizer-free two weeks before and after the application.

Tip: Storing Nematodes Requires Care & Consideration

Always store nematodes in their original packaging. If you transfer nematodes to a canister or another container without releasing them into the environment, they can easily die. Store the original nematode container in the refrigerator, but not in the freezer where low temperatures will kill the microscopic organisms. Again, always follow product packaging and look for specifics as you may not need to use all nematodes in one application process.

Common Types Of Beneficial Nematodes

Steinernema Feltiae

Steinernema Feltiae is a species of entomopathogenic nematode that is known for its effectiveness in controlling termite infestations. Its efficacy has been demonstrated through multiple studies, especially in wood structures and soil applications. This nematode works by infecting the host and releasing a symbiotic bacterium, Xenorhabdus spp., into the body of the insect. The bacteria then multiply inside the host and produces toxins.

If you’re asking yourself: Do nematodes kill termites? – The answer is a resounding “Yes!” This injection of toxins will eventually kill the pest. Steinernema feltiae is considered one of the most effective treatments against subterranean termites, due to its ability to penetrate deep into infested wood structures and soils, reaching impossible-to-reach spots where pesticides are unable to reach. Furthermore, it also poses no harm to useful insects or humans as it only kills termites and other pests while leaving beneficial organisms untouched.

This is the most common type of nematode used in commercially sold nematode packs. It’s used to fight larvae for various fly species. It’s also effective in exterminating sawflies, mushroom flies, fruit flies, fungus gnat, flea beetles, termites, and more.

Steinernema Carpocapse

Steinernema Carpocapse is another species of entomopathogenic nematode that has been found to be effective in controlling termite infestations. Its efficacy is based on its ability to invade the digestive system of its target insects, producing an infection with symbiotic bacteria that become toxic within their bodies. This type of nematode can be used both as an organic pesticide and as an alternative to chemical treatments as it effectively eliminates termite populations while causing minimal environmental damage due to its selectivity towards pests only.

Additionally, it can also penetrate very difficult areas such as cracks and crevices where chemicals are often unable to reach.

Steinernema Carpocapse nematodes are unique in that they stay on the surface while waiting for the pests to arrive. The Journal of Invertebrate Pathology conducted research efforts proving that these nematodes are effective in addressing termite colonies. If you have more than termites to be concerned with, steinernema carpocapse nematodes are also effective in killing cat and dog flea larvae, fleas, ants, sod webworm, European crane fly, cranberry girdler, loopers, armyworms, and other pests.

Heterorhabditis Bacteriophora

Heterorhabditis Bacteriophora is a species of entomopathogenic nematode that has been recognized for its potential in treating termite infestations around residential homes and other places where control measures are needed urgently. This type of nematode works by entering the body of their target insect through ingestion or contact with contaminated soil particles or plant tissues, where they then release symbiotic bacteria which attack their cells from within causing death after several days depending on conditions such as temperature or moisture levels which affect how quickly they spread throughout colonies. Heterorhabditis Bacteriophora has proven to be highly efficient in eliminating large numbers of different species including worker ants and larvae, reducing populations rapidly without damaging surrounding plants or animals due to its selectivity when consuming insects only for food instead of other beneficial organisms present in nature.

Heterorhabditis bacteriophora nematodes are unique in that they have tooth-like structures to rupture the insect’s skin.

If you have more than termites to be concerned with, heterorhabditis bacteriophora nematodes are also effective in killing Japanese beetles, weevils, grubs, chafer, leaf beetles, squash bugs, gall gnats, cranberry rootworms, and more.

Where to Buy Beneficial Nematodes for Termites

We have researched and carefully selected nematode species specifically designed for controlling termite populations from Amazon.

Our recommended nematodes come in easy-to-use packages with clear instructions on how best to apply them for maximum effectiveness. So if you’re looking for an effective solution that is safe and chemical-free, then look no further than the following products currently available on Amazon.

NaturesGoodGuys – Triple Blend Beneficial Nematodes HB+SC+SF

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BioLogic Scanmask Beneficial Nematodes for Natural Insect Pest Control (100 Million w/ Applicator)

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  • The microscopic beneficial nematodes hunt down and kill over 230 different pests, a great alternative to chemical pesticides.
  • Easy to use just add to watering can, pump sprayer, hose end sprayer, or Nema-Jet Sprayer.
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  • Beneficial nematodes (Steinernema feltiae) control weevils, root maggots, crane flies, cutworms, flea larvae, fire ants, fungus gnats, white grubs, and many more!
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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What do nematodes kill?

    Beneficial nematodes can kill up to 230 types of insect pests. Nematodes are typically used to control the population of various insects including termites, bugs, beetles, and other soil-dwelling pests.

  • Will beneficial nematodes kill bad nematodes?

    Since beneficial nematodes are used to kill pests, it is possible that they will also eradicate the excessive population of bad nematodes. If applied adequately, these nematodes will not harm the balance of organisms within your yard or property.

  • Will fertilizer affect nematodes?

    Yes, beneficial nematodes will die when exposed to fertilizers with high concentrations of nitrogen. If you’re applying nematodes in your yard, you should refrain from using fertilizers for a period of two weeks both before and after the application.

  • At what temperature do nematodes die?

    Nematodes thrive in warmer and more humid settings. The ideal temperature range for nematodes to flourish is between 42 °F and 95 °F.  temperatures that fall outside of this range can cause nematodes to die, eliminating their ability to provide beneficial forms of pest control.

  • When should I apply nematodes to control termites?

    The ideal time of day to apply nematodes is in the early morning or evening hours. Since direct sunlight can dry nematodes out, we have found that this provides the best opportunity for nematodes to target and begin working against a termite colony.

  • Are nematodes effective against termites?

    Yes, nematodes are very effective against termites! Nematodes are microscopic roundworms that can be used as a form of biological pest control. They feed on termite larvae, killing them and preventing further damage to properties. Studies have found nematodes to be highly effective in reducing populations of termites when applied correctly.

  • How long does it take nematodes to kill termites?

    Nematodes typically take between 3-7 days to kill termites. The nematodes seek out and enter the bodies of termites, where they reproduce, releasing a bacterium that will eventually kill the host insect. When nematodes first come into contact with termites they tend to penetrate their exoskeletons more slowly than other insects. After entering and reproducing inside the body of a termite, nematodes can quickly spread throughout a colony and overwhelm them within days.

  • What type of nematodes kill termites?

    Certain nematode species, such as the Steinernema nematodes, are specifically targeted at termites and can be used as a form of biological pest control. These nematodes parasitize the termites by entering their bodies and releasing bacteria that will kill them within a few days. This is an effective way to control termite populations without using toxic chemicals.

  • Will nematodes kill drywood termites?

    Yes, nematodes are an effective form of biological pest control for drywood termites. Species like Steinernema carpocapsae and Heterorhabditis bacteriophora target termites specifically and can help to reduce the population in an infested area. When applied correctly, nematodes can be a safe way of controlling termite populations without the use of chemicals.

  • Can you use nematodes in the house?

    No, nematodes are typically used as an outdoor form of biological pest control, specifically targeting termites. While they can be effective around the perimeter of the home to prevent termites from entering, they are not recommended for indoor use. If you have a termite problem indoors, contact a professional exterminator for the best advice and solution.

  • Why are nematodes bad for soil?

    When used in excess, nematodes can have a negative impact on soil health. In particular, nematode populations that become too large can cause damage to beneficial microbes and earthworms, disturbing the natural balance of nutrients in the soil. However, nematodes can be helpful when applied properly as part of an integrated pest management program targeting termites – they are actually one of the most effective forms of biological pest control for this purpose!

  • Related Research

    1. Culliney, T. W., & Grace, J. K. (2000). Prospects for the biological control of subterranean termites (Isoptera: rhinotermitidae), with special reference to Coptotermes formosanus. Bulletin of entomological research90(1), 9–21.
    2. Wilson-Rich, N., Stuart, R. J., & Rosengaus, R. B. (2007). Susceptibility and behavioral responses of the dampwood termite Zootermopsis angusticollis to the entomopathogenic nematode Steinernema carpocapsae. Journal of invertebrate pathology95(1), 17–25. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jip.2006.11.004
    3. Al-Zaidawi, J. B., Karimi, J., & Mahdikhani Moghadam, E. (2020). Entomopathogenic Nematodes as Potential Biological Control Agents of Subterranean Termite, Microcerotermes diversus (Blattodea: Termitidae) in Iraq. Environmental entomology49(2), 412–421. https://doi.org/10.1093/ee/nvaa014
    4. Nguyen, K. B., & Smart, G. C. (1994). Neosteinernema longicurvicauda n. gen., n. sp. (Rhabditida: Steinernematidae), a Parasite of the Termite Reticuldermes flavipes (Koller). Journal of nematology26(2), 162–174.
    5. Rai, K. M., Balasubramanian, V. K., Welker, C. M., Pang, M., Hii, M. M., & Mendu, V. (2015). Genome wide comprehensive analysis and web resource development on cell wall degrading enzymes from phyto-parasitic nematodes. BMC plant biology15, 187. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12870-015-0576-4

     

     

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