Biological Control of the Pecan Weevil, Curculio caryae (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), with Entomopathogenic Nematodes

M. T. Smith, R. Georgis, A. P. Nyczepir, R. W. Miller


Steinernema carpocapsae (Weiser) strain A11, S. feltiae (Filipjev) strain SN, and Heterorhabditis bacteriophora Poinar strains HP88 and Georgia were tested for their efficacy as biological control agents of the pecan weevil, Curculio caryae (Horn), in pecan orchard soil-profile containers under greenhouse conditions. Percentage C. caryae parasitism by S. carpocapsae and H. bacteriophora strain HP88 and Georgia was consistently poor when applied either prior to or following C. caryae entry into the soil, suggesting that these nematode species and (or) their enterobacteria are poor biological control agents of weevil larvae. Soil taken 21 days following application of S. carpocapsae or H. bacteriophora strain HP88 induced a low rate of infection of Galleria mellonella larvae, whereas soil that had been similarily treated with H. bacteriophora strain Georgia induced a moderate rate of infection. Percentage C. caryae parasitism by S. feltiae was consistently low when applied following C. caryae entry into the soil and was inconsistent when applied as a barrier prior to entry of weevil larvae into the soil. Soil taken 21 days following application of S. feltiae induced a high rate of infection of G. mellonella larvae. Key words: biological control, Curculio caryae, entomopathogenic nematode, heterorhabditid, Heterorhabditis bacteriophora, pecan weevil, Steinernema carpocapsae, Steinernema feltiae, steinernematid.

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