While on Martha’s Vineyard we stayed a the home of a couple who opened their house to us and were interesting and generous hosts. He is a professor of economics at Columbia Business School and was well informed and opinionated on many subjects that we all read about. I can say he was neither liberal nor conservative but seemed to have the intelligent answers for everything from health care to taxes.
But I digress. His lawn lo0ked nice and green and the neighbor’s lawn looked lush. Many lawns were ragged and in poor condition. He told me that his neighbor had bought nematodes, 50,000,000 of them but he had sprayed only 25,000,000 on his lawn.
This took me immediately to the internet where I found that Nematodes are the second most populous species on the planet! The neighbors had their lawns eaten up because skunks and crows dug out the numerous grubs in the lawn and the lawn thusly suffered.
Nathan Cobb described the ubiquity of nematodes on Earth thusly:
In short, if all the matter in the universe except the nematodes were swept away, our world would still be dimly recognizable, and if, as disembodied spirits, we could then investigate it, we should find its mountains, hills, vales, rivers, lakes, and oceans represented by a film of nematodes. The location of towns would be decipherable, since for every massing of human beings there would be a corresponding massing of certain nematodes. Trees would still stand in ghostly rows representing our streets and highways. The location of the various plants and animals would still be decipherable, and, had we sufficient knowledge, in many cases even their species could be determined by an examination of their erstwhile nematode parasites.
Enter the Beneficial Insect Company which sells Nematodes and their information “Beneficial nematodes seek out and kill over 200 species of pest insect in the soil and will have no detrimental affect on species such as ladybugs, earth worms and other helpful beneficial insects.” They seem to work and come in the mail where you mix them with water and spray them over your lawn. Bye Bye grubs!
On the left is a nematode, no bigger than the head of a pin. On the right the dreaded grub whose presence destroys lawns on Martha’s Vineyard and I suppose elsewhere.