Magazine article USA TODAY

Eliminating "Most Wanted" Garden Enemies

Magazine article USA TODAY

Eliminating "Most Wanted" Garden Enemies

Article excerpt

As the ground warms, soil-dwelling insects become active, eating roots of shrubs, flowers, bulbs, fruit trees, vegetables, and grass. Grubs, cutworms, and root weevils are among the country's "most wanted" garden enemies. Most live underground, virtually undetected, as they go about destroying carefully cultivated lawns and gardens. Although they are hard to See, the damage done by these pests is clearly visible. Grubs feed on grass roots, causing brown spots in the lawn; black vine weevils nibble on the leaves of a wide variety of flowering plants and vines, resulting in a notched appearance; and cutworms leave their mark by eating a multitude of vegetation, including radishes, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and bedding plants such as petunias.

There is a way to combat these and other soil-dwelling insects without using chemicals. Biosys, a Palo Alto, Calif., biological pest control company, has developed a natural, easy-to-use, and effective alternative to traditional pesticides utilizing high-tech "seek-and-destroy" beneficial nematodes. Part of the natural predator/prey relationship in the ecosystem, these microscopic creatures are natural enemies of many destructive garden pests and fleas. Unlike traditional pesticides, which mainly target the adult population of harmful insects, beneficial nematodes move underground to seek out and eliminate the immature stages (larval and pupal) before they become adults, preventing further damage to the lawn and garden. …

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