Augmentative Applications of Steinernema Scapterisci (Nematoda: Steinernematidae) for Mole Cricket (Orthoptera: Gryllotalpidae) Control on Golf Courses

Kathryn A. Barbara, Eileen A. Buss


The insect parasitic nematode, Steinernema scapterisci Nguyen and Smart, is a non-chemical alternative to pest mole cricket control in the southern United States. These ambush nematodes can become established after one application and spread into untreated areas through host movement in the soil. However, the nematode's persistence from previous inoculative applications in 1988 and 1989 and the effectiveness of subsequent augmentative applications on intensively managed golf courses were unknown. In 2001, two linear pitfall traps were placed in the roughs of 10 holes on each of two golf courses (20 traps per course) near areas of adult mole cricket activity, and half of the plots with traps were treated with S. scapterisci. Ten to 15% of mole crickets trapped before the augmentative nematode applications were infected by S. scapterisci. After this application, the percentage of infected mole crickets was higher than the baseline for 8 mo at one golf course and 17 mo at the other. The percentage of mole crickets infected on treated plots equaled or exceeded pretreatment levels about 4-8 wk post-application. The percentage of infected mole crickets in untreated areas at both sites equaled the percent infection in treated areas after about 5 mo. Mole cricket trap catches and percent of infection declined in the second year, but continued to fluctuate with mole cricket population density, age, and environmental conditions. Augmentative applications of S. scapterisci for pest mole cricket control can enhance mole cricket mortality on golf courses.

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