26 May 2021, UK: The 20th century saw an agricultural revolution, as chemical pesticides were widely used to provide the crop yields necessary to feed a rapidly expanding global population. Unfortunately, as agriculture became steadily more intensive, with heavier machinery, larger fields, and the use of toxic pesticides, we inadvertently poisoned our soils, our water, and our air, impacting our own health and that of our planet.
We need to cultivate crops in a sustainable manner that maximizes yields while not harming the environment. A ready solution lies in bioprotectants – these products are created from highly virulent strains of naturally occurring biological control agents (entomopathogenic nematodes). When used correctly, bioprotection products can offer effective pest control in different cropping systems. Unfortunately, due to lack of understanding about how to use them correctly when they were first introduced in the 1980s and 90s, they gained a reputation for inefficacy. This is why creating the conditions for these micro-organisms to thrive, and associated education, are vital components of biopesticide use.
Bionema has always embraced these three elements in the Bionema Tri-Component Solution, which consists of:
Specially developed, highly virulent strains of beneficial nematodes, NemaTrident®
A biocompatible wetting agent that helps the nematodes to spread and thrive, Nemaspreader®
Specialist training and advice on how to optimise the effectiveness of the nematodes.
Now, Bionema has been granted a new patent (UK Patent No. 2581540) that provides this unique tri-component offering ‘in a box’.
The pest control kit comprises an amount of entomopathogenic nematodes from the Heterorhabditis or Steinernema genera (depending on the target pest), a wetting agent composition (comprising a solvent and a surfactant) and comprehensive instructions for use. The kit provides biological control of immature larval insects which can act as pests to plants, including agricultural, forestry, horticultural, turf and amenities, or home garden use. The new pest control kit aims to provide safe and sustainable insect protection for turf and plants all year round.
“The technology associated with this product is both unique and cost-effective,” declared Dr Minshad Ansari, CEO of Bionema. “Moreover, it is simple and user-friendly when used as part of this kit. We will always be there to support our customers and provide any advice they need, but this pest control kit is now available for people confident enough to go it alone, and it equips them to get the results they need from these beneficial nematodes.”
This is a particularly timely innovation, when leatherjackets and chafer grubs – both of which can be controlled by beneficial nematodes – are currently devastating golf courses, racecourses, football pitches and cricket rounds. Here are a few successful reports of the efficacy of this tri-component solution and how this can help save to millions of pounds in turf damage.
Neath Golf Club Head Greenkeeper Mark Tucker used Bionema’s NemaTrident® Tri-Component solution because it was “more sustainable for the environment” and says he was thrilled with the results. “We’ve witnessed more than 85-90% control of leatherjackets in the first year. I was very sceptical 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.”
Darren Griffiths, Groundsman at Constantine Cricket Club near Falmouth, says he realised he had a leatherjacket infestation when he noticed that rooks were pecking for grubs on his cricket pitches and outfield and destroying the turf. He contacted Bionema and followed the training guidelines to properly handle and apply the NemaTrident® Tri-Component solution. Three months later, he said the turf had improved dramatically and the club members were able to enjoy a leatherjacket-free season.
Phillip Chiverton, Golf Course and Estate Manager, The Grove, says that the effective control of pests has been a steep learning curve for the greenkeeping team at The Grove over the past three years and included a lot of commitment by everyone. “By keeping to Bionema’s plan, the results are clear to see. I was very sceptical at the start, but we now have zero damage by chafer grubs, and how we keep this success ongoing is the next step of our journey with Bionema.”
The new kit adds to Bionema’s portfolio of products for the agriculture, horticulture, turf amenity and forestry sectors. Bionema is a leading UK biopesticides technology developer, specialising in chemical-free, biological crop protection for safe and sustainable agriculture.