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  • Fungus gnat death by nematode

    Was reading an article in Greenhouse Management magazine this Spring or Summer that mentioned the work of some younger folks in that industry and saw a mention that a Dr. Allison Justice had done a lot of work with beneficial nematodes while at Clemson University.
    The article also mentioned that she sold Starter Kits for breeding your own beneficial nematodes.
    Here is part of what she wrote to me when I requested more info :

    " I've been researching entomopathogenic nematodes for about 4 years now. I've developed a system for growers to rear their own nematodes inside wax worms. This is opposed to buying millions of dehydrated/dormant/not very active nematodes that are produced synthetically more or less similar to how beer is fermented. It is a more natural way of producing nematodes and in addition they are more infective (ready to eat) when they are applied. Thus far I've been working with growers who use them mainly for fungus gnat larvae in propagation. I provide a mixture of 4 species of nematodes that not only attack fungus gnat larvae but also thrips and shore fly. I've recently acquired even more species and specifically one, Heterorhabditis marelatus, has shown to be very aggressive against slugs/snails. The link is a publication from UF if you would like to read about nematodes in general http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/...c_nematode.htm. The species I currently have are: H. indica, H. bacteriophora, S. feltiae, S. carpocapsae, Steinernema glaseri, and Heterorhabditis marelatus. As you can see they attack a high diversity of pests but since my specialty is in greenhouse crops those pests are in which I've focused. I am able to provide the kits or just nematodes in a media. Usually the kits are for growers who need to produce a lot. If they just need a little it makes more sense to just order nematodes themselves."


    There is more information on her website : www.hopegreenhouses.com under the heading for nematodes and the heading for BDS (biological defense systems).
    She sounds as if she is as into beneficial nematode species as we are into fig varieties and that can't be good for the fungus gnats and perhaps other fig pests.





    Kerry - NH zone 5

  • #2
    Interesting, thanks for sharing this. I apply some every year, they actually do hold fairly well and for quite a long time in fridge. I ordered more this spring through Homedepot, but the predatory nematodes seem to have persisted well this last winter everywhere they were applied in the last year. Meaning I have yet to use the package from this spring because I didn't need them. I'm sure the addition of Gnatrol to the younger trees this late winter and spring has played a part in this as well.
    Calvin, Wish list is to finish working on the new house, someday.
    Bored? Grab a rake, paint roller, or a cordless drill and come over!

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    • #3
      Pretty cool stuff, thanks for sharing, Kerry!
      https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Browse?Seller=Kelby
      SE PA
      Zone 6

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      • #4
        Calvin, excuse my ignorance but how can you tell that your nematodes are still present.
        Thanks,
        "gene"
        Zone 9 Houma LA in the bayou land.

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        • cis4elk
          cis4elk commented
          Editing a comment
          Hi Gene,
          No worries, it's a fair question.
          Every growing season, up until this summer I get a population of fungus gnats going in my pots. The worst have always been in the pots with new/fresh potting mix. This year, overall I have observed about 10% of what I usually see in fungus gnat numbers(or a 90% reduction) and I haven't added nematodes to many of the pots like I have in the past. In past years I would apply predatory nematodes 2-3 times a growing season. Last year I switched brands, so this may be a healthier or more persistent variety. But I also started using a bit of Gnatrol, so that could have something to do with it as well, but I didn't do a regular application of gnatrol to all my big tree pots. In fairness, when I had some extra Gnatrol mixed up from treating cupped fig starts, I would add it to my watering can and water whatever fig trees I was around..especially if I had seen some gnat activity. So although the concentration was very diluted, many trees recieved at least a trace amount of Gnatrol.
          So who knows. It may just a down-cycle year for gnats too. Something is working in my favor here and the company Homedepot has contracted with to supply nematodes seeems to have a better product than Arbico..at least in my experience. So, since my trees go to the garage overwinter then they are essentially refridgerated. Not too far of a stretch to think the nematodes persisted. I could be wrong though. One thing is for sure, the combination of predatory nematodes and Gnatrol is bad news for Fungus Gnats.

      • #5
        Interesting article, thanks for sharing.
        Kevin (Eastern MA - Zone 5b/6a)

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        • #6
          The nematodes I got from my hydroponic supplier were "suspended" in a piece of refrigerated sponge. I did not find them very effective in my greenhouse.
          Rafael
          Zone 10b, Miami, FL

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          • #7
            Just noticed that Dr. Justice has on her website : http://www.hopegreenhouses.com/#!bee-keepers/c1cc3
            a beneficial nematode that controls small hive beetle.
            Caught my eye as a former bee keeper.
            Kerry - NH zone 5

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            • #8
              I haven't tried nematodes yet but gnatrol seems to have worked the best so far. Much better than mosquito dunks. Gnatrol didn't seem to eliminate them for me but seems to have severely cut the population.
              Don - OH Zone 6a Wish list: Zaffiro, Moro de Caneva, Nerucciolo d'Elba, Bordissot Blanca Negra, Rubado

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