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How to control turf pests with nematodes - Dragonfli

Treat Chafer Grubs & Leatherjackets With Nematodes This Summer

Turf pests such as Chafer Grubs and Leatherjackets can be successfully treated with nematodes from the mid-to-late summer. The eggs laid by Chafer beetles in May and June will develop into larvae or grubs by about the end of July. The grubs will feed on grass roots until the autumn. When soil temperatures start to drop, the grubs will stop feeding and sink lower down into the soil structure, where they will overwinter. The best time to treat Chafer grubs with nematodes is when they are quite small from July to September. The grubs are more vulnerable to nematodes when they are smaller and the soil temperatures at this time of year are also high enough for effective nematode activity. The same process applies to Leatherjacket larvae, which can appear slightly later in the soil from mid-to-late August through until the autumn.


The best time to treat turf pests, such as Chafer grubs, with nematodes will be from July to September when the grubs are smaller.

How Best To Apply Nematodes Against Turf Pests

When applying nematodes there are some important guidelines that should be followed to maximise the success of your treatment.

The most important factor is water and irrigation. Nematodes are not able to operate in very dry soils. They need to be able to penetrate through the grass thatch and move into the soil beneath. If there is too little water they will sit in the grass and never reach the soil. The soil must also be irrigated, if it is rock hard, or too dry, the nematodes will not be able to move through it. The grass area should also be irrigated, or watered, after application. This enables the nematodes to continue moving through the soil seeking out grubs to infect and kill. It is good practice to keep the soil moist for a minimum of 7-10 days after the application of nematodes.


Nematodes require plenty of moisture to be active. Ensure to water and irrigate your soil before, and after, application.

For larger areas, the addition of a soil penetrant, or spreader, will also aid the infiltration of the soil by nematodes. Dragonfli supply a nematode friendly carrier product called Nemaflo, which is added to the spray solution. This aids the penetration of the soil by the nematodes. 


The application of Nemaflo will aid the movement of your nematodes throughout the soil and assist them in reaching turf pests.

Nematodes can be applied with watering cans, sprayers, or hose end feeders such as our Nema Super Sprayer. This sprayer is simply attached to the end of a hose pipe and will then proceed to speed up the process of applying nematodes over surface areas.


Our Nema Super Sprayer is ideal when applying nematodes over lawns and surface areas of up to 100sqm at a time.

Other factors to remember to help maximise the effectiveness of your nematode treatment:

  • Try not to apply on bright days. as the nematodes are U.V. sensitive
  • Store nematodes in a fridge prior to application 
  • Apply all opened nematode packs, they will not store after opening
  • Repeat applications of nematodes may be required for severe turf infestations

Comments (6 Responses)

25 March, 2024

Julian Ives

Hi Richard,

Many thanks for getting in touch and sorry to hear of your infestation.

I would recommend investing in one pack of our 1000sqm Leatherjacket Killer Nematodes (which contains 2 sachets of 250million nematodes) and one pack of our 500sqm Leatherjacket Killer Nematodes (which contains 1 sachet of 250million nematodes). This will provide you with the coverage and concentration necessary for an effective treatment.

Large packs of nematodes can be best applied with our Nema T-Pot Nematode Applicator. This will allow you to spray large quantities of the nematodes at once, with the added benefit of a variety of spray selection modes.

Alternatively, the nematodes could be applied with a spray tank via a contractor. This may be necessary when treating extensive areas of turf.

Conditions are optimal for nematode application now, just try to ensure the nematodes are applied in appropriate cloud cover as nematodes are U.V. sensitive.

I hope this all helps but if you need any further assistance please don’t hesitate to ask.

Kind regards, Julian Ives [Director, Dragonfli]

23 March, 2024


I have a large lawn approx 1200m2 with a very bad infestation of leather jackets. Considerable areas of the lawn have completely died. What is the most efficient way of applying nematodes to this area?

13 October, 2022

Julian Ives

Hi Gail, thanks for getting in touch.

You can now indeed apply nematodes to your newly laid turf. As long as the soil is warm and wet enough for the nematodes be active in, I see no reason why you would not have success applying them and protecting the turf from Chafer Grub or Leatherjacket turf pests.

Kind regards, Julian Ives [Director, Dragonfli]

12 October, 2022


Hi, Should I use Nematodes on newly laid turf in October?
Thanks, Gail.

18 July, 2022

Julian Ives

Hi Michael, thanks for getting in touch.

We would suggest waiting until early August to apply the Chafer Grub Killer Nematodes, hopefully there is some rain between now and then. Irrigation is vital for the nematodes to be able to break through the soil and conditions at the moment simply are not suitable for them unfortunately. It’s also particularly bright and the nematodes cannot withstand constant exposure to strong UV rays. With more overcast conditions you will have greater success with your treatments.

We have fresh stock of the nematodes weekly so don’t worry about storing the nematodes, its better to wait for the appropriate conditions and order from us when needed.

If it remains dry for the foreseeable, however, and you start witnessing Chafer grub activity, we would recommend attempting to apply the Chafer Grub Killer Nematodes with lots of irrigation and the wetting agents you are currently using. We also have our own soil penetrant in the form of ‘Nemaflo’ which you may wish to try. This formula aids the movement of nematodes in the soil and will assist them in reaching the Chafer grub pests. You can find this by following the below link:

Finally, with regards to your lawn size we would recommend purchasing one of our 100 square metre packs of Chafer Grub Killer Nematodes and one of our brand new 50 square metre packs which you can find by following the below link:

If your infestation is severe we would recommend repeating the treatment before October.

Hope this all helps but if you both need any further advice feel free to get in touch via email at, via social media, or by giving us a call on 01376 563322, and we’d be happy to assist.

Kind regards, Julian Ives [Director, Dragonfli]

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