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A Study on Nematodes as Termite Control

Termites are known to be symbiotic organisms to certain protists. This nature of termites helps them in their ingestion and digestion of wood in order for them to live. However, this also makes them highly susceptible to incorporating parasites into their system making them vulnerable to harmful microscopic organisms. Therefore, having parasites in termites' system can be used as a potent termite control method. It may not be one of the most of conventional ways to do about termite control but the fact that is effective outweighs the downside and will eventually eliminate the impracticality of its usage. Given the right cultivation, modulation and regulation, such methods will come to a point wherein it will be integrated in the market of termite control methods.

Among the most recent research and studies, the use of nematodes as a pest control method is establishing itself. Nematodes are among those microorganisms that once impregnated in another organism's system, can be fatal. This article will further discuss the nature of nematodes and how it will be applied as usable ingredients in controlling and exterminating termite infestations.

Disclaimer: As of this moment, researches are still ongoing and there are still no conclusive methodologies being devised in order to use them as usable pest control methods. This article's discussions are mainly hinged on delivering this interesting topic for the readers, in the hope of eventually utilizing the information into tangible applications. Amateur or DIY applications can be very detrimental. Nematodes as parasitic organisms can be potentially harmful to the human system.


Before moving on how nematodes can be used pest termite control methods, let us first know what they are.

Nematodes are more commonly known as roundworms belonging to the animal genera phyla. They are among the 37 animal phyla that exist in the planet and they are perhaps one of the most numerous, and perhaps the most diverse of the family. There are over 80,000 species of nematodes are scientifically named already. With respect to their numbers, they are amongst the most prevalent animals in the world in existence. Nematodes can be commonly found in three places: marine, terrestrial, and freshwater environments. They even significantly outnumber the animals coexisting around them, as well as insects. According to retrospective scientific findings, there are about 1018 or one quintillion to 1021 or one sextillion nematodes in the entire world.

Nematodes have long evolved into adapting in all sorts of environment in the planet. They thrive in consuming fungi, bacteria, and smaller protozoan. Some nematodes thrive in feeding on the contents of animal hosts. These types of nematodes are parasitic in nature. There are about 18,000 species of nematodes out of the 80,000 in existence are considered parasitic. Scientists that study nematodes believe that in actuality, there are more than 80,000 species of nematodes alive. Roughly 500,000 species of nematodes are believed to be roaming the earth, evolving and adapting into many varying and diverse environment. Parasitic nematodes have adapted to different types of hosts and have successfully evolved over time. As they grow inside their host, their length often increases. The length of parasitic nematodes varies from each other depending on the amount of benefit they get from their symbiote. As most people already know, nematodes or roundworms can be also be found in the human system as parasites ranging from a couple to several inches long depending on how long they have been inhabiting and how much nourishment they get from the human hosts. Of course, they could cause disease and are clinically deregulated from the human system. The largest sizes of roundworms were found inhabiting in the intestines of a sperm whale(s), with lengths ranging from 8.5m to 10m with 32 ovaries for mass reproduction. That is why in some cases, multiple roundworms are often found inside a host's system. Nematodes can reproduce themselves asexually; therefore there is little deterrence in them growing in alarming numbers.

Research has it that nematodes comprise 90% of the life forms in the sea. They often found even if in deep ocean trenches, where water pressure can be 100 times stronger than that of the pressure in the surface. Nematodes are also even found in the most uninhabitable environments such the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica where the temperature drop reaches as low as -60o Celsius or -76o Fahrenheit and wind speed exceeding 300km/h, making the place almost devoid of any level of moisture. Nematodes can still in such environments, settling with little moisture found in rocks consuming whatever little amount of bacteria that may thrive.

Harmful Nematodes

Apart from the parasitic types of Nematodes which are undeniably harmful to any organism's health (apart from those few that can foster mutualistic or commensalistic relationship with them), there are also other Nematodes that are not only clinically harmful but also economically destructive. Some nematodes can pester farmers like no other and could result to damage of crops amounting to billions of dollars annually. They typically inhabit the soil of the farm and from there they will attack the plant roots. The Root-know nematodes are amongst the most sinister nematodes found in farms. They attach themselves into the roots and inject hormones that can eventually lead to swollen nodules in the plant root. Eventually that will rapture and cause damage to the crop and would serve as an open invitation to various dangerous bacteria that will cause the plant or crop to die. Other farm destructive nematodes embed themselves and burrow their way through the crop and of course the damage they will cause along the way will cause the death of the plant. Tomatoes and peppers are among their most favorite crops.

Beneficial Nematodes

If there were harmful nematodes, there are also that are considered beneficial because they help provide human convenience to some level. Most of them naturally occur in the soil. These nematodes normally feed on grubs and even some other nematodes. There are certain species of nematodes that are cultured to use in pest control methods. Pests like Japanese beetle, Common Chafer, Weevils, and Termites. These nematodes are applied to suppress the development of grubs and or larvae of these pests.

Michael Rozatoru :)
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