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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: CONTROL OF ARTHROPOD PESTS OF PECAN AND PEACH

Location: Fruit and Nut Research

Title: Nematodes (Rhabditida: Steinernematidae and Heterorhabditidae)

Authors
item Shapiro Ilan, David
item Gaugler, Randy -

Submitted to: Internet Web Page
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: August 13, 2010
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Nematodes are simple roundworms. Some nematodes are pests of plants, humans, or livestock. Entomopathogenic nematodes (in the families Steinernematidae & Heterorhabditidae only parasitize insects. These nematodes are used as environmentally friendly biopesticides. The nematodes kill harmful insect pests with the help of a partner, i.e., bacteria that the nematodes carry in their gut and release once they enter an insect host. Close to 80 different species of entomopathogenic nematodes have been discovered and at least one dozen of them have been made commercially available for control of important insect pests. The nematodes can be mass cultured by infecting large numbers of insects and harvesting nematode progeny; the nematodes can also be mass cultured in solid or liquid fermentation. Entomopathogenic nematodes are used to suppress a variety of pests including various weevils or other beetles, borers, mole crickets, cutworms, fungus gnats, and more. The nematodes are sensitive to UV radiation and desiccation and therefore must be kept moist and applied in a manner that avoids prolonged exposure to sunlight. Generally, effective application rates require a minimum of 250,000 nematodes per square meter. It is important to match the appropriate nematode species to the particular pest being targeted. Entomopathogenic nematodes have made a significant contribution to environmentally sound pest control practices and as research progresses their utility will expand as well.

Technical Abstract: Nematodes are roundworms in the phylum Nematoda. Although most are free-living, some nematodes are parasites of plants, humans, or livestock. Entomopathogenic nematodes in the families Steinernematidae & Heterorhabditidae only parasitize insects. These nematodes are used as environmentally friendly biopesticides. The nematodes kill harmful insect pests with the help of mutualistic bacteria that the nematodes carry in their gut and release once they enter an insect host. Close to 80 different species of entomopathogenic nematodes have been discovered and at least one dozen of them have been made commercially available for control of important insect pests. The nematodes can be mass in vivo or in vitro via solid or liquid fermentation. Entomopathogenic nematodes are used to suppress a variety of pests including various weevils or other beetles, borers, mole crickets, cutworms, fungus gnats, and more. The nematodes are sensitive to UV radiation and desiccation and therefore must be kept moist and applied in a manner that avoids prolonged exposure to sunlight. Generally, effective application rates require a minimum of 250,000 nematodes per square meter. It is important to match the appropriate nematode species to the particular pest being targeted. Entomopathogenic nematodes have made a significant contribution to environmentally sound pest control practices and as research progresses their utility will expand as well.

Last Modified: 4/17/2014