Archive for July, 2022

Understanding nematodes could unlock the potential of your farm.

Posted by

A key to unlocking the potential of a crop is buried in the upper layers of the soil. Living within soil water pockets are worm-like micro-organisms called nematodes (phylum Nematoda). These tiny creatures amass large populations and in agriculture, they can help or hinder. Some nematodes are plant-parasitic (or PPNs for short), causing over $100 billion in crop damage annually, while others are beneficial, holding enormous potential for sustainable crop protection or helping make nutrients more readily available to plants.

By Cory Smit and Catherine Gacheri

Nematodes are some of the most abundant animals on Earth. Nematology, the study of nematodes, is vast, having identified over 28 thousand species to date, many with feeding habits which are important in agriculture. Fortunately, there are a few fundamentals that farmers can use to simplify and act on the information.

  1. Some nematodes are crop pests, feeding on or infecting roots, bulbs or leaves. The image above is a typical example of a Root-Knot Nematode or Meloidogyne spp. infection of roots. (Photo: Scot Nelson, 2017. Meloidogyne incognita on Solanum lycopersicum.).
  2. Some nematodes are beneficial in killing crop pests and while others help unlock nutrients.
  3. Routinely monitor nematodes in all growing areas using professional nematode analysis, and deploy the recommendations.
  4. Nematodes reproduce quickly and in massive numbers – good news if they are beneficial, bad news if they are pests.

Fig. 1. Typical nematode lifecycle. Duration depends on species and other factors.

Do nematodes speed up the release of nutrients?

The interplay between bacteria, fungi and beneficial nematodes that feed on them can contribute to the supply of nitrogen and accelerate the mineralization of untapped organic nutrients. By consuming the bacteria and fungi which break down compost within the soil, these nematodes can speed up the release of nitrogen into the soil by releasing excess nutrients, making it available for crops to use.

Tip: Growers can stimulate this process by incorporating manure and compost into the soil to provide a habitat for bacterial and fungal colonies to grow in, making new food for the beneficial nematodes 

Can nematodes be used as Biocontrols?

Dudutech’s research and development of nematodes as biocontrols take advantage of species which kill crop pests, called Entomopathogenic Nematodes (EPNs). EPNs find and kill their target pest to use in their reproductive cycle. Using EPNs helps growers reduce their reliance on chemicals which may unintentionally harm the soil ecology and non-target beneficial micro-organisms.

Using research on their host range, Dudutech developed four nematode-based products to tackle key pests. These include:

  • NEMATECH® S – Steinernema feltiae D2 – for Thrips and Sciarid Flies,
  • NEMATECH C – Steinernema carpocapsae – for Cutworm,
  • NEMATECH HHeterorhabditis bacteriophora F27 – for beetles,
  • SLUGTECHPhasmarhabditis hermaphrodita M1 – for slugs and snails.

The ability of infective juveniles to quickly seek out and kill their target before spreading to new hosts makes these beneficial nematodes powerful agricultural tools for the sustainable management of a wide variety of crop pests. In particular, nematodes are widely used in integrated pest management of Thrips.

Fig. 3. Nematech S SP mode of action.

Due to their complex lifecycles, no single control option can provide satisfactory control of Thrips. If any part of their lifecycle is left unmanaged, the populations can become “resident” and quickly boom, causing significant damage to crops.

In most cases, Thrips infestations in greenhouse crops are from resident populations.
Most thrips species including Western Flower Thrips (WFT, Frankliniella occidentalis) spend up to one-third of their lifecycle in the soil. When used with above-ground predators, such as AMBLYTECH and MONTECH, and traps (STICKTECH), the nematodes in NEMATECH® S play an important role underground in the biocontrol strategy by killing Thrips in their soil-living stages.

How can farmers sustainably manage plant-parasitic nematodes (PPNs)?

PPNs are crop pests, causing lesions, cysts and rot in the root system. Blue, yellow and red (Toxicity Classes 3 through 1 a and b) chemical nematicides pose numerous problems with far-reaching effects for growers and consumers including the development of nematicide resistance, exceeding residue limits (MRLs) and negative effects on non-target organisms. These issues have far-reaching effects for farmers as they make pesticide applications more expensive, restrict access to markets and harm beneficial nematodes living alongside pest nematodes.

To help growers tackle these nematodes in a sustainable way, Dudutech has paired MYTECH® and NEMguard. MYTECH® contains a powerful nematophagous fungus (Paecilomyces lilacinus) which selectively targets plant-parasitic nematodes. Mytech kills all life stages of most plant-parasitic nematodes. The fungal spores on treated crops attach to their target and form mycelia on the host, feeding on it before releasing spores to begin the cycle over.

Fig. 4. Mytech mode of action.

NEMguard® is a powerful environmentally intelligent nematicide containing plant-sourced ingredients which can be used to control PPNs. The (proprietary) polysulphides contained in NEMguard rapidly cause oxidative stress and kills PPNs. Due to their biology, beneficial nematodes are less affected by NEMguard when compared to routinely used broad spectrum nematicides which may damage the environment.

Fig. 5. NEMguard SC mode of action.

The soil beneath crops is a complex but delicate ecosystem. By looking after it sustainably, growers can take advantage of the plant health benefits afforded by healthy soils.

Interested in finding out more?

Click here to send us a message or use our chat channel on our website.

Get ahead of Thrips and Whitefly using our range of EPFs!

Posted by

Buy LECATECH® WP or BEAUVITECH® WP and get a 5% discount.*

Thrips and whiteflies can be a major challenge to growers as their numbers can quickly balloon, causing significant crop losses in their wake. By using LECATECH® WP and BEAUVITECH® WP, growers can sustainably manage these pests without negatively impacting the environment, people and other non-target organisms.

LECATECH® WP and BEAUVITECH® WP are easy-to-use bio-insecticides containing specialised fungi that kill target pests on crops. Using these products together allows growers to target a wide range of crop pests with different modes of action.


BEAUVITECH® WP is a biological insecticide containing Beauveria bassiana used to manage Thrips, whiteflies and other soft-bodied insects. B. bassiana is an insect-killing or entomopathogenic fungus (EPF) that causes white-muscardine disease in target pests. When BEAUVITECH® WP spores come into contact with their target host with relative humidity >70% and temperatures between 18 – 30°C, their mode of action begins.

Fig. 1. BEAUVITECH® WP mode of action.

Read more about BEAUVITECH® WP.


LECATECH® WP is a biological insecticide containing Lecanicillium lecanii, a naturally occurring Entomopathogenic fungus (EPF) used for sustainable, residue-free management of Whiteflies. When LECATECH® WP spores come into contact with their target host with relative humidity >70% and temperatures between 18 – 30°C, their mode of action begins.

Fig. 1. LECATECH® WP mode of action.

Read more about LECATECH® WP.

Enquire now using the form below.

*Registration and availability may vary by region. Offer only valid until 31 August 2022. Contact your local supplier or for more information.

Craig Oulton completed the Lewa Marathon, barefoot!

Posted by

By Cory Smit – Dudutech

In an inspirational feat of endurance, Craig Oulton (former Dudutech board member), completed the full 42.2km Lewa Safari Marathon ‘22 barefoot in just under 5 hours. Craig said he took on the barefoot challenge to raise funds for “Sports4Change, a wholly Kenyan charity organization that sponsors the education of orphans and other bright and deserving students in Kenya.”

Competing in the Lewa Safari Marathon is a must-do experience for runners around the world. The race takes place on an undulating course through northern Kenya’s majestic Lewa Conservancy, with endless landscapes and spectating wildlife. However, as marathons go, Lewa is considered one of the most difficult in the world.

Craig Oulton before his barefoot marathon attempt.

According to Craig, who has completed it 7 times and 3 barefoot, the marathon has its own particular set of challenges. The Northern Kenyan environment is inherently a tough place to run – the hot dry weather, high altitude, rough terrain and wildlife dangers are major challenges for participants, let alone anyone without trainers.

“My main concern was breaking toes, which I did on my last attempt…” Craig said, “thorns are also an enemy which forces you to be very aware of your footfalls barefoot. The biggest issue is how hot the ground gets, it literally burns your feet.”

As an experienced runner who regularly participates in full and ultra marathons, Craig said exhaustion and fatigue are expected. “I was not worried as I have run marathons before”, he said, “and I know what my brain and body are telling me… I generally ignore this and keep going.”

Craig running on the hot ground in Lewa.

“Training is so critical if you don’t do the mileage you won’t finish on the day,” he stated, adding that the practice strengthens his feet, ankles and pads. Without proper training, Craig risks serious injury.

One of the particular joys of running the Lewa Safari Marathon is experiencing the wildlife on foot. “It was amazing. As soon as we set off, we had three rhinos 2 km out. Lots of buffalo and plains game. Later in the run, about 3 hours in, we had a huge herd of elephants in the marsh. The spotter planes, a helicopter and rangers, both in cars and on foot, did a brilliant job of keeping us safe.”

Craig dedicated this barefoot marathon to raising funds for Sports4Change, a Kenyan charitable organisation which helps provide bright and deserving kids access to good education. By rallying Dudutech and other donors Craig raised Ksh500,000 for Sports4Change.

To find out more about Sports4Change and Craig’s barefoot marathon, go to Donations are still open, please consider supporting this inspirational cause. Watch the Sports4Change video made for Craig!