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All about nematodes -- the good ones

Living the Country Life Radio Program with Betsy Freese

Not all nematodes are bad

Listen to this radio show (MP3 download) or read below.

Radio interview source: Jim Crawford, county Extension agent, University of Georgia

I prefer to let nature take its course when it comes to controlling bugs, worms, and anything else that lives in my soil. Bugs killing bugs, worms killing bugs, birds killing worms; it's all part of the cycle of life.

Jim Crawford is a county Extension agent with the University of Georgia, and says nematodes are small, microscopic roundworms that live in the soil. The destructive kind eat plant roots, but there are beneficial varieties.

"They feed on fungus and bacteria in the ground," Crawford says. "In fact, we even did a trial one time actually putting beneficial nematodes on the golf course to control mole crickets."

Helpful nematodes dine on grubs, ants, fleas, and cut worms.

There are two nematode attack strategies. One is called an "ambusher". These nematodes sit still and wait for dinner to pass by. The other is a "cruiser". These microscopic predators inch their way through the lawn looking for a snack. When they come in contact with one, the nematode bores in and releases a bacteria that kills the host.

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