How effective are nematodes for fleas?

Nematodes offer a non-toxic method of controlling fleas in the yard.

Flea nematodes are considered effective by some and ineffective by others. Some studies show that they can kill up to 80% to 90% of fleas, while other studies have shown that they are relatively ineffective. While they may not work in all situations, nematodes are a safe, non-toxic way to try to control fleas and other pests in your yard.

A type of microscopic roundworm, nematodes are a parasite that destroys garden pests, including fleas. Flea nematodes work by killing the pest with a type of bacteria. After the flea dies, the nematode uses the dead flea as a space to reproduce. Nematodes attack pre-adult fleas, pupae and larvae, but not adult fleas.

Nematodes do not attack adult fleas.

The true effectiveness of using nematodes for fleas is uncertain. Some tests indicate that nematodes are highly effective, while other tests show that they are not especially helpful. Studies seem to show that nematodes are most effective in sandy, wet areas, while they are less effective in very dry areas. Flea nematodes are also only effective in destroying fleas that are outdoors. If a home is infected with fleas, other control methods must be used.

Research indicates that using nematodes for fleas is safe. The worms do not attack humans, pets or other wild backyard animals. Their population never becomes unmanageable as after they have destroyed all the pests they need to survive, they also die. Many consider that the biggest benefit of using nematodes for fleas is the lack of chemicals or pesticides, which can put pets, children, and the surrounding wildlife at risk.

See also  What is a minnow?

Flea nematodes can be purchased online or at some local garden stores. Typically, they are purchased in a specially designed sponge that allows the nematodes to survive outside of the soil for up to a week. The sponge is placed in a bucket of water and squeezed several times to transfer all nematodes to the water. The nematode-filled water is then distributed around the yard with a sprayer.

These worms have the best chance of surviving in shady, damp spaces, so areas under trees and shrubs should be treated more intensively. Nematodes also thrive in soil temperatures of over 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) and below 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius), so it is important that the climate is neither too hot nor too cold while the nematodes are being distributed. Typically, one million nematodes are recommended for every 3,000 square feet (279 square meters) of soil.

Nematodes can also be used against any number of garden pests, not just fleas. Termites, ants and larvae, as well as weevils, can be controlled by these worms. Although dangerous to many insects, nematodes, according to scientists, do not feed on beneficial garden insects such as earthworms.

Leave a Comment