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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: Entomopathogenic nematodes and insect management

Authors
item SHAPIRO ILAN, DAVID
item Grewal, Parwinder - OHIO STATE UNIV

Submitted to: Encyclopedia of Entomology
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: June 8, 2007
Publication Date: September 1, 2008
Citation: Shapiro Ilan, D.I., Grewal, P. 2008. Entomopathogenic nematodes and insect management. In: Capinera, J.L., editor. Encyclopedia of Entomology. 2nd edition. Dordrecht:Springer. p. 1336-1340.

Interpretive Summary: Entomopathogenic nematodes are small round worms that are used as environmentally friendly insecticides. The nematodes occur naturally and are found in soil of every continent except Antarctica. The nematodes kill insects with the help of bacteria that are carried in the nematode’s intestine. The nematodes can be mass-produced on insects or on artificial media using fermentation techniques. The effectiveness of nematode applications for pest suppression depends on the kind of nematode used, the pest that is targeted, and various environmental factors (temperature, moisture, etc.). Dozens of important insect pests have been controlled using entomopathogenic nematodes. Efficacy of the nematodes can be improved by genetic and non-genetic means.

Technical Abstract: Entomopathogenic nematodes (genera Heterorhabditis, Steinernema, and Neosteinernema) are used as bioinsecticides. The nematodes are ubiquitous and have been isolated in soil of every continent except Antarctica. The nematodes kill insects through a mutualism with a bacterium (Photorhabdus spp. or Xenorhabdus spp.) that are carried in the nematode’s intestine. The nematodes can be mass-produced in vivo or in vitro. The efficacy of nematode applications for pest suppression depends on nematode and host species, and various abiotic factors (temperature, moisture, etc.). Nematode efficacy can be enhanced through strain discovery, or genetic improvement. The genomes of these nematodes and their bacteria are currently being elucidated. Dozens of important insect pests have been controlled using entomopathogenic nematodes.

Last Modified: 7/25/2014
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