Beneficial Bugs: Nematodes.
We usually think of nematodes as being a bad thing, but there are bad nematodes and good nematodes. Beneficial nematodes attack soil-borne pests. They kill their hosts by invading them and then releasing a bacteria that causes the host blood poisoning.
Beneficial nematodes are microscopic, so you won’t be able to see them, but you can purchase them in a paste-like form from some garden suppliers. Add water to the paste and sprinkle it on moist soil around plants in the evening when the sun won’t just bake them. One particular species of nematode called Steinernema carpocapsea is very effective against caterpillars, cutworms, webworms and billbugs. Heterorhabditis bacteriophora loves Japanese beetle grubs.
Good nematodes can also be used to control fleas, iris borers, cabbage root maggots and strawberry root weevils.
Also read about controlling thistles and the edible daylily in this month’s archived articles.