When To Use Nematodes For Termites? Pro Advice + 2 Commercial Options

when to use nematodes

Dealing with a termite infestation is every homeowner’s nightmare. These tiny insects can incur massive damage over time. To stop the pest from eating your house down, you should control the infestation before it spreads all over your property. For this post, I will guide you when to use nematodes, how to use it, and which products are the best options.

NEMATODESNEMATODE BRANDCHECK PRICE
 My Top Pick 
Bug Sales 250 Million
Live Beneficial Nematodes
Dr. Pye’s Scanmask 10 Million
Live Beneficial Nematodes

What are the beneficial nematodes?

Beneficial nematodes are microscopic roundworms. This naturally-occurring termite solution enters the pest from the anus, mouth, or body wall. The gut bacteria present in the nematodes bodies are poisonous to termites. This will lead to the death of the population.

These nematodes are safe to use even around humans and pets. However, if you have insect pets, you should be careful in applying this solution.

Here’s a video about beneficial nematodes and how it works:

As a “green” option in exterminating termites and other insect pests, nematodes are ideal for small infestations only.

The killing process of nematodes will usually start within 24 hours after the initial application. Take note that proper application is necessary to achieve higher success rates.

How nematodes act

The nematodes are released to the affected area through water. The water and nematodes will seep through the wood and will start to move to target the termites.

These beneficial nematodes will look for entryways in the termite’s body. It could be their anus, mouth, or the nematode can penetrate the body wall of the pest.

Within 24 hours, the nematodes will feed on the termite’s body. At this point, it will release its gut bacteria, poisoning and killing the termites in the process. The kill will take place in no more than 48 hours.

Unlike dusting, nematodes need to enter the termites’ body to make a kill.

What kind of termites do nematodes target?

Most beneficial nematode products in the market target Subterranean termites, including Formosan as its sub-type. This is because this species loves moisture. And since nematodes are released by blending it with water, the mites won’t know that their colony is about to be exterminated.

The beneficial nematodes can also target Damp wood termites, but the application should be correct to target their harborage.

Benefits of using beneficial nematodes

There are many benefits to using nematodes to arrest the termite population. One of which is its environment-friendliness with zero impact on natural resources. Aside from that, here are the other advantages of using these organisms:

➡️ Fast-acting

For an all-natural termite solution, nematodes act and kill termites fast. The process will not even take more than 48 hours. The nematodes kill the pest round-the-clock, even as you sleep.

➡️ Very affordable

You can purchase beneficial nematodes in the market for a very low price. Just make sure that you’re getting one blended to kill termites. Since these nematodes are abundant in nature, sourcing it doesn’t cost a lot of money.

Downsides of using nematodes

Beneficial nematodes aren’t one without some disadvantages. First, it’s ideal for small infestations only. If your house is infested with a large colony of Formosan termites, you need more than nematodes to eradicate the entire population.

For more widespread infestations, tenting is the common solution. This ensures that the termites are exterminated and nothing escapes the treatment.

Also, you need to re-apply the nematodes multiple times to see massive results.

How to use nematodes to kill termites?

using nematodes on field

The best thing about beneficial nematodes is its ease of use. You can apply it by yourself using some household items.

Here are the things that you need for the application:

  1. Water
  2. Bowl
  3. Beneficial nematodes
  4. Stirring rod/stick
  5. Spray bottle
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 on 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 to 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.

Pro tip: It’s best to spray the nematodes starting on your garden then into your house. Remember that Subterranean termites are beneath the ground. Some homeowners will use buckets of diluted nematodes to pour around their yards. This is ideal for reaching the below-ground colony of the termites.

Additional application tips

Aside from the above-mentioned steps, keep the following tips in mind for a successful application:

➡️ Apply the nematodes at night

Nematodes are afraid of heat and sunlight. This means that you have to apply it during the early morning or after sunset. Also, the application area shouldn’t have a temperature lower than 60 °F. If so, the beneficial nematodes will die.

➡️ It may take time for the nematodes to adjust to the environment

Re-application is necessary to ensure that the nematodes get used to its new environment. Also, some of the nematodes may die if the area is heated or cooled too much. Try looking for dead mites to confirm if the nematodes are already at work.

The rule of thumb is spraying the affected area once a day for two weeks.

➡️ Size up the nematode concentration

Each pack of commercially available nematodes has a maximum coverage area. Usually, the more live nematodes there are, the bigger the coverage will be.

➡️ Dilute only the amount that you need for the day

Nematodes are very sensitive organisms. Make sure that you dilute only the amount that you’ll apply for the day. Storing the remaining diluted nematodes isn’t ideal. The organisms will die. Also, you should apply the nematodes fast the moment that you transfer it to the bottle.

➡️ Avoid fertilizers for two weeks

Beneficial nematodes are prone to death when exposed to fertilizers, especially ones with high nitrogen levels. So if you’re planning to use this termite extermination method, we suggest that you keep the soil (if you’re applying it on the ground) fertilizer-free two weeks before and after the application.

This will ensure that the nematodes will survive long enough to infiltrate the bodies of the termites.

Nematode storage

Always store the nematodes on their initial packaging. If you transfer them to a canister or other containers, the nematodes may die.

Store the original nematode container on the fridge, but not in the freezer where the very low temperatures will kill the organisms.

I suggest that you follow the storage and application process in the packaging of the nematodes.

How to purchase beneficial nematodes?

If you’re planning a DIY termite extermination treatment, there are beneficial nematodes that you can buy online and in brick-and-mortar stores. Here are some of the questions you need to keep in mind:

➡️ How many live nematodes are in the pack?

Commercially sold nematodes come in 5 million to 250 million per pack. The more nematodes there are, the bigger the coverage will be.

➡️ How large is the area that I’m going to treat?

If you’re planning to irrigate your entire yard, you should look for more nematodes per pack. For example, a 250 million live nematode pack can cover up to 15,000 sq. ft. Meanwhile, a 5 million nematode pack is best for 500 sq. ft. or less.

➡️ What kind of insects does the nematode target?

Take note that not all beneficial nematodes sold in the market can kill mites. Make sure that the blend you’re getting is suitable for a specific termite species you’re targeting. Most of the time, nematodes are blended for Subterranean termites, ants, rootknot, fungus gnat, and more.

Potential side effects of nematodes

The great thing about nematodes is they don’t have any side effects. Since it’s natural, nematodes have the natural instinct to only attack pests. Beneficial insects and worms will stay safe.

Also, it’s rare for humans to have allergies or sensitivities with these nematodes. Still, there’s a small chance that humans will contract nematodes. Always wear protective gear like gloves and masks when spraying the nematodes. Also, wash your hands right after applying the organisms.

Common types of beneficial nematodes

➡️ Steinernema feltiae

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

This nematode is ideal for pre-adult fleas. It’s effective for caterpillars and flea larvae on the soil where pets have access. These nematodes stay on the surface while waiting for the pests to arrive. The Colorado State University conducted trials proving that this nematode species is effective in controlling the billbug larvae population.

Among the pests it kills are termites, cat and dog flea larvae, fleas, ants, sod webworm, European crane fly, cranberry girdler, loopers, armyworms, and more.

➡️ Heterorhabditis bacteriophora

This type of nematode is used to fight Japanese Beetles, Weevils, and Grubs. It’s also ideal for termites when applied directly on the mound.

Aside from that, this can also kill chafer, leaf beetles, squash bugs, gall gnats, cranberry rootworm, and more.

This nematode is efficient when the pests are dispersed widely in the treated area. Unlike other nematodes, this type has tooth-like structures to rupture the insect’s skin.

Are nematodes effective?

The Environmental Protection Agency says that nematodes are proven to kill pests in lab tests. Also, many exterminators use these organisms to kill termites when termiticides can’t be used.

If applied properly in small infestations, nematodes can eradicate the entire colony and prevents its recurrence if re-application is done regularly.

Also, as long as the nematodes are alive, it will continue to feed on termites – transferring from one mite to another.

Just make sure that you keep the nematodes alive before the application. Always use water with room temperature, not too warm or too cold.

When to hire a professional exterminator?

It’s easy to apply the beneficial nematodes on your own. However, if you’re not seeing results after weeks of application, you might be doing something wrong. It’s best to tap the help of a professional exterminator.

The termite expert can make use of your purchased nematodes properly. They will apply the solution to the best areas to optimize its effect. If the exterminator discovered that the infestation is bigger than what you’ve thought, they could employ other treatments as well.

TOP 2 COMMERCIAL BENEFICIAL NEMATODE OPTIONS

MY TOP PICK: Bug Sales 250 Million Live Beneficial Nematodes
beneficial-nematodes

Product Name: Bug Sales 250 Million Live Beneficial Nematodes

Product Description:

If you’re looking for the most potent nematode that can cover a wide area, the Bug Sales Live Beneficial Nematodes is the ideal choice. It has 250 million live nematodes that will help you control soil pest sans the harmful chemicals or termiticides.

The Steinernema Feltiae in this pack can attack and kill about 200 different species of soil pests, including the invasive Subterranean termites. This pack can treat up to 15,000 square feet. Still, it could be smaller, depending on the extent of the infestation.

Aside from termites, this is effective in killing corn earworms, corn borers, artichoke plume moths, root aphids, tobacco cutworms, pine weevils, scarab grubs, sclarids, and more!

Offer price: $$$

Availability: InStock

  • Efficiency
  • Residual effect
  • Application
Overall
4.7

Summary

Make sure that you store the pack at a temperature around 36 °F to 45 °F to prevent the nematodes from dying. The unactivated nematodes can be stored up to 30 days with maximum potency. To release the nematodes, just dilute it with water and apply it directly to the affected area.

If you’re applying this to the ground, make sure that the soil is moist for better effects. It will help to irrigate the soil before and after the application of the nematodes.

Pros

✔️ 250 million live nematodes

✔️ Kills up to 200 soil pests including Subterranean termites

✔️ Can be stored up to 30 days with full efficiency

Cons

❌ You have to make sure that the shipping process won’t expose the nematodes to heat

RUNNER-UP

Dr. Pye’s Scanmask 10 Million Live Beneficial Nematodes

Dr. Pye’s Scanmask 10 Million Live Beneficial Nematodes

If you’re looking for an affordable nematode solution, the Dr. Pye’s 10 Million Live Beneficial Nematodes will suit you well. This contains Steinernema Feltiae nematodes that can treat up to 200 sq. ft.

While these nematodes kill termites, it will not harm ladybugs, praying mantis, lacewings, and other beneficial insects. Also, it doesn’t harm earthworms than help cultivate your plants.

This nematode type can attack and kill about 230 types of soil pests. You can also use this for wood-boring insects like termites.

Overall, this will not affect plants, humans, and pets. If you’re located in an area with temperatures that run over 85 °F, you should choose expedited shipping to keep the nematodes alive and effective.

You have the option to apply this using water and a spray bottle. If you’re treating soil, you can mix the nematodes directly to the ground. Just make sure that you irrigate it first so the nematodes will bond well.

This nematode can kill Japanese Beetles, wireworms, cutworms, white grubs, fungus gnats, weevils, Subterranean termites, and more.

Take note that it will take three to four months to get rid of the pest you’re targeting.

PROS

✔️ Very affordable and can cover up to 200 sq. ft.
✔️ Can target up to 230 types of soil harboring pests
✔️ Safe for beneficial insects like ladybugs and praying mantis

CONS
❌ Will take time to show massive results
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Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What do nematodes kill?

A: Beneficial nematodes can kill up to 230 types of insect pests. It’s typically used to control the population of various insects including bugs, beetles, and termites.

Q2: Will beneficial nematodes kill bad nematodes?

A: Since beneficial nematodes are used to kill pests, it’s 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.

Q3: Will fertilizer affect nematodes?

A: Yes, beneficial nematodes will die when exposed to fertilizers, much so for high-nitrogen types. If you’re applying nematodes in your yard, you should refrain from using fertilizers weeks before and after the application.

Q4: At what temperature do nematodes die?

A: Nematodes thrive in temperatures between 42 °F and 95 °F. Any that’s too low or too high than this range will expose the nematodes to death. Some nematodes may live in temperatures higher than 95 °F, but their parasitical effect will no longer be in effect.

Q5: When should I apply nematodes to my garden?

A: The ideal time to apply nematodes is before sunrise and after sunset. Nematodes hate light and heat. Continued exposure to this will lead to the death of the nematodes.

Final words

Knowing how and when to use nematodes will let you kill the termites in your home. Consistent application and patience will go a long way in this extermination method. If you’re looking for beneficial nematodes, you can choose between the two picks I have mentioned above. Both are guaranteed to target mites fast.