Bionema Ltd, a leading biopesticide technology company, has been granted a UK patent for a unique pest control solution that provides safe and sustainable protection from larval insect pests.
This is a particularly timely innovation, when leatherjackets and chafer grubs – both of which can be controlled by beneficial nematodes in spring and autumn– are currently devastating golf courses, racecourses, football pitches and cricket grounds, causing millions of turf damage. The leatherjacket pest population, in particular, has increased significantly in the last few years.
Chemical pesticides have traditionally been widely used to provide the crop yields necessary to feed a rapidly expanding global population, and control pests in sports turf and open green spaces. However, these toxic pesticides have poisoned our soils – impacting our own health and that of our planet.
An environmentally-friendly solution lies in bioprotectants, which 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 cropping systems and sports turf management, by creating conditions for these micro-organisms to thrive. They live in soil and can be targeted at specific pests to avoid harming beneficial insects.
Bionema has now been granted a new patent (UK Patent No. 2581540) that provides a unique tri-component offering ‘in a box’. The Tri-Component Solution 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.
The pest control kit comprises entomopathogenic nematodes from the Heterorhabditis or Steinernema genera, 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, horticultural, turf and amenities and forestry – providing safe and sustainable insect protection for turf and plants all year round.
“The technology associated with this product is both unique and cost-effective,” says Dr Minshad Ansari, CEO of Bionema. “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.”
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.”