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Title: Susceptibility of the lesser peachtree borer (Lepidoptera: Sesiidae) to entomopathogenic nematodes under laboratory conditions

item Shapiro Ilan, David
item Cottrell, Ted

Submitted to: Environmental Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/20/2005
Publication Date: 4/15/2006
Citation: Shapiro Ilan, D.I., Cottrell, T.E. 2006. Susceptibility of the lesser peachtree borer (Lepidoptera: Sesiidae) to entomopathogenic nematodes under laboratory conditions. Environmental Entomology. 35:358-365.

Interpretive Summary: The lesser peachtree borer is an important pest of peaches and other stone fruits. Safe and substantially efficacious means of controlling this pest are lacking. Our objective was to estimate the potential of insect-killing nematodes to suppress lesser peachtree borer larvae. Insect-killing nematodes are naturally occurring round worms that can be used as environmentally friendly bio-insecticides. There are many different species (kinds) of these nematodes. We tested six different nematode species for their ability to kill lesser peachtree borer in the laboratory. We found two nematodes to be the most virulent (most able to kill); these nematodes are called Steinernema carpocapsae and Steinernema feltiae. We also determined that the nematodes can reproduce successfully inside lesser peachtree borer. We conclude that the prospects for controlling lesser peachtree borer with insect-killing nematodes are promising and field testing is warranted.

Technical Abstract: The lesser peachtree borer, Synanthedon pictipes is an important pest of Prunus spp. We determined the susceptibility of S. pictipes to six entomopathogenic nematode species: Heterorhabditis bacteriophora, H. indica, H. marelatus, Steinernema carpocapsae, S. feltiae, and S. riobrave. Nematode virulence in S. pictipes was compared to virulence in two known susceptible hosts, Galleria mellonella and Tenebrio molitor. In S. pictipes, the steinernematids were more virulent than the heterorhabditids, the virulence of S. carpocapsae was greater than S. riobrave with S. feltiae being intermediate between the two, and no differences in virulence were detected among the heterorhabditids. Each nematode exhibited similar or greater virulence to S. pictipes than to T. molitor, and the steinernematids’ virulence to S. pictipes was greater or similar to H. bacteriophora or H. marelatus virulence in G. mellonella. We also established that each of the steinernematids can reproduce successfully in S. pictipes. We conclude that the prospects for controlling S. pictipes with entomopathogenic nematodes are promising (particularly with S. carpocapsae and S. feltiae) and field testing is warranted.