The Q&A Archives: Non-toxic Pest Controls

Question: I was watching a home and garden TV show and someone wrote in about their mole problem. I have been told to get rid of moles, get rid of their food source. I have been dreading using diazonon because of what they say about it. The gentlemen on the show mentioned 2 non-toxic applications. One is the use of milky spore and the other nematodes. My question is are these good alternatives to toxic methods, are they destructive to lawns, and finally where can I obtain these products from.

Thank you very much.


Answer: Beneficial nematodes are naturally-occuring microorganisms; they feed on the larvae of many insect pests, including Japanese beetle grubs, root weevils, and cutworms. However, they will not harm earthworms or other beneficial creatures (including people!)--they are very specific to their lavae prey.

For more detailed reports on their effectiveness, I would contact BIRC, the Bio-Integral Resource Center, which is an organization that researches and educates on integrated pest management including biological controls like nematodes.

Milky spore disease is caused by the bacteria Bacillus popilliae and is used to control Japanese beetles and some strains of European chafer grubs; the disease does not infect people or pets. However you should apply it, just as with any other substance, according to the label instructions.

Congratulations on your decision to avoid strong chemical pesticides. By using beneficials like nematodes, you'll take care of the problems while promoting good soil health--and a healthy soil produces a healthy lawn.

You can buy the beneficial nematodes from Gardens Alive,; ph# 812/537-8650.

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