Bionema Ltd, a leading UK-based biopesticide technology developer, has released a step-by-step video guide on how to control leatherjackets by using a beneficial nematode solution.
Video caption: The benefits of good application techniques for leatherjacket control in sport turf.
Leatherjackets (larvae of crane fly) cause serious turf damage to golf courses, sport fields, racecourses, and open green spaces through their extensive feeding on roots. The video, showing a nematode trial filmed at Neath Golf Club in Wales, offers guidelines for greenkeepers and grounds managers on how to apply nematodes (roundworms) to achieve successful control.
The crane fly species Tipula paludosa is univoltine and completes one generation during a year. Each female can lay 100-200 eggs in late August to mid-September. The eggs hatch within two weeks and move to the lower thatch layer where they feed throughout the winter season and continue growing, causing damage in turf which is visible in spring. By mid-August, late-stage leatherjackets begin to pupate and transform into adults, completing their life cycle.
Bionema witnessed excellent results at the Neath Golf Club field trial conducted between March 2019 and June 2020. The company used its unique Tri-Component solution, which comprises a virulent nematode species – NemaTrident®, a biocompatible wetting agent – Nemaspreader® and specialised training and advice on effective use of the product.
Once applied, using a conventional sprayer, the nematodes attacked and killed the leatherjackets, preventing further pest population, without harming beneficial insects in the targeted area. This safe and environmentally friendly method has a 70-100% kill rate and is, on average, 20-30% more effective than other nematode products on the market.
Commenting on the use of product, Neath Golf Club Head Greenkeeper Mark Tucker says: “We’ve witnessed more than 85-90% control of leatherjackets in the first year with Bionema’s NemaTrident® solution. I was very skeptical about nematodes, but the results spoken for themselves. Last year we were hitting 30 leatherjackets per 20cm2 but after one year we are hitting zero. In addition, to the leatherjacket control, the most pleasing things for me is that root growth increased by about 80% – that is a secondary benefit. The product is more sustainable for the environment and so is a much better way of dealing with this issue”
Dr Minshad Ansari, Founder and CEO of Bionema and industry expert says: “It is very important to use the Tri-Component solution for decreasing leatherjacket infestations, which causes huge economic damage in the turf industry. We are documenting many success stories of nematode applications by educating users on correct application techniques. Our goal is to see an improvement in nematode efficacy by educating greenkeepers and grounds managers in the correct application of beneficial nematodes“.
Bionema is one of the few organisations that focus on a chemical-free method of crop protection and biocontrol. It focuses on natural product development, using fungi, bacteria, and nematodes to help reduce the usage of chemical pesticides which also offer an effective treatment for regulating chafer grub infestations as well as other common pests. Bionema’s pest control products are available through distributors in the UK.
The current problem is so serious, that last year, an emergency summit was called by Dr Ansari in spring 2019 with the aim of finding industry-led solutions to counter the threat of leatherjackets in the turf industry.