Our Frequently Asked Questions

If you are unable to find the answer to the question you still may have, we encourage you to get in touch with us so we can help you further.

Do Beneficial Nematodes (ENs) work?

Yes they do! Beneficial Nematodes are shown to be more effective than most chemicals, and with no application lifespan due to chemical resistance build up within the pest.

How do they work ?
Most insect pest damage is caused by the larval stage of the insect. Prior to pupation, the larvae feed voraciously in order to store the energy required to pupate and form the adult. Once adults are visible, much of the damage has been done and the life cycle is reaching its conclusion. By this time, the next generation is ‘in production’.

Entomopathogenic Nematode is a microscopic worm, and is a natural enemy of insect larvae. CSIRO scientists have found that nematodes are able to invade and kill a large number of insects which.
Usually found in soil, the nematode detects insect movement and then follows a trail of carbon dioxide to find the insect. Entomopathogenic Nematodes (ENs) enter through the insects natural body openings; mouth, anus or respiratory inlets (spiracles) and then penetrate the blood cavity from the gut or breathing tubes.

Once in the insect’s blood, the EN infective juvenile releases a bacterium, found only in ENs, which multiplies and kills the insect; usually in about a day. The bacteria then convert the insect into suitable food for the nematodes and produce a range of antibiotics and anti-feedants that preserve the dead insect while the nematodes feed and breed within it.
After about 10 days, a medium sized insect cadaver may produce up to 100,000 or more infective juvenile ENs that are released into the soil and seek out new insect pest hosts.

What are the advantages of using ENs over traditional insecticides?

The main advantage is using EN technology is that it has no toxicity effects to humans, aquatic life nor beneficial organisms in the soil. There is no requirement for withholding periods, and no exposure risks to applicators and the users (i.e. golfers, bowlers).

Environmentally the fate of traditional pesticides groups (i.e. organophosphates, Carbamates ect) pesticides haves a number of negative effects that include: –

  • Non-Target Insecticide Effects – impacting on more than just the intended pests
  • Insecticide Resistance – with pests becoming resistant to chemicals relatively quickly
  • Insecticide Enhanced Biodegradation – residual increasingly remaining in the
  • Groundwater Contamination – via uncontained run-off

The use of ENs for insect control eliminates all the above environmental management and litigation concerns, whilst in most cases being as effective, if not more effective.

What are the safety issues when using and handling of ENs?
The advantages of using these bio-pesticides are in operator and end-user safety, the absence of withholding periods, minimal harm to natural enemies, and the lack of environmental pollution
Various tests against mice, rabbits and monkeys (Gaugler, 1979; Wang et al, 1983, 1984; Wang & Liu, 1983; Boemare, et al, 1996) have shown that the ENs tested are harmless when fed, injected or inhaled.
They are also harmless to earth worms (Capinera et al, 1982) and other non-insect organisms including plants and they are of course non-polluting.
They have now been used on a large scale in various countries for over 15 years and large numbers of production workers have been exposed to thousands of billions of them without any adverse effects being recorded.
The EPA in the USA, like many other countries including Australia, has exempted ENs from registration.
Do ENs damage Turf?
ENs naturally occur in the soil and have no effect on the health of plants. The bacteria that Ens use to kill insects also has no toxicity or effects on turfgrasses.
How are they applied?
Nematodes are supplied in a cellulose-based carrier. ENs are applied like any traditional spray application via a boom spray, pump and hose, venturi system, or standard watering can. Water volume is critical and we advise in individual product information. Adequate irrigation is also essential to ensure that the nematodes can connect to the insect host. If the soil is dry then pre–irrigation is increasingly important.
Do ENs have an effect on other beneficial organism in the soil?

ENs have no negative impacts on non-target pests or organisms.
They are often confused with plant parasitic nematodes, such as those infesting turf, that use a stylet or spear at their head end, rather like a hypodermic syringe, to pierce plant cells and then suck out fluids from within.

The ENs that we use to control insects are about as different from plant parasitic nematodes as human beings are from goldfish.

Will ENs have potential to harm any on site fauna?
Definitely not! ENs have no mammalian toxicity and therefore are safe to humans, aquatic life, ducks and birds.
Will other products affect the results I get with ENs?
Compatibility sheets are available from ECOGROW Environment Pty Ltd. Overall nematicides are not compatible, however many fungicides herbicides and other insecticide groups have some tolerance but usually will mean an interval of a number of days or weeks are required between applying ENs and some other pesticides.
Is this an expensive treatment?
Actually, the cost of using ENs can be about the same cost as the chemical alternative although completely safe with no harm caused to humans or non-targeted insect life in the soil. Even if the initial cost seems higher if measured on an area total treatment cost basis, the usage cost can be considerably lower! This is because ENs are used only when insects are present, whereas preventative chemical treatments are used over much greater areas, and often with more applications required.
Are there special requirments for using ENs?
In general, the application of ENs is easier than using a chemical. EN solutions are simply sprayed onto affected areas using normal spray equipment. However, no special safety equipment such as protection required for chemicals is necessary. Treated areas are also available for use without any withholding period, and there is no requirement to cordon them off.
Like all EN products, however, there are a few golden rules. For example, they must be applied at dusk due to their sensitivity to UV light. ENs also require a moisture film in order to migrate from the thatch and into the soil area. It is also important to ensure that the soil remains moist for the duration of the treatment period.
Once I've treated, will I need to reapply?
The answer will depend on the pest. Most in-situ pests are able to be seasonally controlled with the single application (or 2 applications for existing infestations for best results). ENs breed in large numbers inside dead insect hosts and the resulting offspring are released back into the soil. This allows a rapid growth in the EN population. It is also known that under ideal conditions, ENs can survive for up to 4 weeks in the soil when there are no target insects available as a food source. Because of this, ENs usually provide a season-long control of the targeted insect. An exception would be for some pests where a re-infestation from an untreated area occurred after sufficient time had elapsed for the EN population to decline. This is an area of continuing research.
Is further research still required?
Ecogrow EN products, constant and on-going research is currently in train. We constantly look for improvements in application methodology, improved nematode strains (increased virulence), longer in-soil life and refined or reduced application rates. Ecogrow does not make products available until effective and independently generated trial data is available, and so efficacy of listed products can be relied on.
Can I get technical assistance?
Absolutely! We appreciate some questions may arise, and are able to assist.
The key to any IPM strategy lies in monitoring. EN solutions are curative as well as than preventative, and we can assist in advising the best approach for your individual situation. This can include tailored Integrated Pest Management strategies, or with assistance in determining areas requiring treatment and customised application rates and

For many commercial applications – the concentration of nematodes in products can be varied with the timing and method of application. We prefer to give specialist advice on the specific use of nematodes to control a range of insect pest species for commercial applications. Consequently not all products are listed.