ICL technical area sales manager, Sam Rivers, explains why it is a good idea to use ICL’s Transporter when applying beneficial nematodes to control troublesome pests - such as vine weevil and sciarids.
Utilising entomopathogenic nematodes, commonly known as beneficial nematodes, as part of an integrated pest management programme can deliver great results as these nematodes are a natural, environmentally friendly and highly effective form of pest management.
In a bid to optimise nematode efficacy, ICL has developed Transporter. This revolutionary penetrant has been specifically formulated to enhance performance by aiding nematode dispersion, within the growing media, following application.
Beneficial nematodes are generally applied through irrigation systems, in a suspension of water, directly into the growing media. However, these nematodes are highly sensitive and can die with prolonged exposure to UV light. It is therefore important they penetrate the growing media surface as quickly as possible working their way downwards into the media, which provides an ideal environment. In some instances, growing media can become hydrophobic (water repellent). This can further reduce the penetration rate adding stress, or even killing, the nematodes.
Promoting Even Nematode Penetration
Transporter works by reducing the surface tension of water, helping to assist the downward flow and penetrative mode of action. This helps to ensure the beneficial nematodes reach their optimal environment as quickly as possible. As the surface tension of water reduces, the spreadability increases promoting more even nematode distribution throughout the growing media. In short, the nematodes are able to find a suitable host pest more quickly.
Transporter also contains residual agents. These help bond water molecules onto the growing media particles, promoting greater moisture retention for a short period after application. While helping to optimise the environment for the beneficial nematodes, this also helps reduce leaching and therefore nematode loss.
An added benefit of using Transporter, when applying beneficial nematodes, is improved plant health. Transporter not only improves the rate of nutrient uptake, but it can also help reduce frequency of irrigation and leaching.
Figure 1 - Application without Transporter, penetration is greatly inhibited, beneficial nematodes take longer to reach the target area
Figure 2 - Application with transporter, helps reduce the surface tension of water improving the penetrative mode of action
Figure 3 – Application without Transporter, nematodes can disperse unevenly in growing media being carried in the flow of water, potentially increasing the time it takes to find a host and the risk of leaching from the pot.
Figure 4 - Application with transporter aiding the spreadability of the beneficial nematode suspension enabling even distribution throughout the growing media, reducing the time to find a potential host.
*Images not to scale.