Nemasys J, from Scotts, is an innovative new biological control which is proven to be highly effective at combating leatherjackets, and can be used as part of an Integrated Pest Control Programme.
Leatherjackets are larvae of the crane fly (Tipula oleracea), the most abundant crane fly species in Europe. Larvae grow to around 12mm in length and cause extensive damage to lawns, sports pitches and landscaped areas as they feed on the plant roots. Secondary turf damage often occurs as birds and small mammals such as moles turn over the weakened turf to feed off the pests.
Developed by Becker Underwood, Nemasys J contains the beneficial insect parasitic nematode Steinernema feltiae - a microscopic worm which does not feed on plant material. Nematodes are proven to be very successful in controlling a wide range of pest species in horticultural situations. Once the nematodes have been applied to the infected area they actively seek out and enter leatherjackets in the soil, killing the pest. The nematodes then reproduce inside the dead pest and release a new generation of hungry nematodes which disperse and seek out more grubs.
Scotts' marketing manager, Dave Steward, commented: "Becker Underwood has made considerable investment in production and formulation improvements for Nemasys J, and this has significantly increased the product's market potential. Scotts is delighted to be working in partnership with the company to supply Nemasys J to the very important lawn care, professional turf and landscaping markets.
"Nemasys J is an ideal solution for the control of leatherjackets. The product is natural, safe, easy to use and very effective at all larval stages, so it can be applied when the grub is actively feeding and there is a high risk of secondary damage. We are confident that turf managers and landscapers will find Nemasys J very effective in combating these pests."
Nemasys J stops leatherjackets feeding within just three days of application, so roots are able to start recovering quickly. Leatherjackets die within 10-14 days, after which re-turfing or re-seeding work can start. And because predators are no longer feeding off the leatherjackets, secondary damage also stops.
The product should be applied between September and October when leatherjackets are most active, young and close to the soil surface. Applications in late autumn and winter are less effective as the grubs are deeper into the rootzone and therefore more difficult to target.
Nemasys J can be applied easily by mixing with water and spraying onto the infected area. There is no need for any specialised application equipment or applicator certification, and the product is completely safe for pets or people during or after application. Nemasys J is also safe for use close to water courses or other environmentally sensitive areas.
Each pack contains 250 million nematodes and enough product to treat 500m2 of turf. After application soil should be kept moist to help the nematodes move through the soil to reach their pest target.