Effects of Culture Method and Formulation on the Virulence of Steinernema riobrave (Rhabditida: Steinernematidae) to Diaprepes abbreviatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae)

David I. Shapiro, Clayton W. McCoy


The Diaprepes root weevil, Diaprepes abbreviatus, is a pest of vegetables, ornamental plants, sugarcane, and citrus in Florida and the Caribbean. The entomopathogenic nematode, Steinernema riobrave, can reduce larval populations of D. abbreviatus substantially. Efficacy of entomopathogenic nematodes, however, may be affected by culture method and formulation. Using D. abbreviatus as the host, we compared the efficacy of two commercial S. riobrave formulations, a liquid and a waterdispersible granule (WDG), with each other and with in vivo produced S. riobrave. Nematodes in the commercial formulations were produced in vitro through liquid fermentation; the in vivo nematodes were cultured in Galleria mellonella and applied in aqueous suspension. Laboratory experiments measured nematode virulence in plastic cups containing soil and seventh-eighth instar D. abbreviatus. One laboratory experiment was conducted using only fresh nematodes (less than 5 days old); another experiment included WDG nematodes that were stored for 25 days at 10ºC. Two field experiments were conducted in which nematodes were applied either to potted citrus (containing D. abbreviatus larvae) placed beneath mature citrus trees or to soil directly beneath the tree. In the latter experiment, efficacy was determined by measuring mortality of caged D. abbreviatus larvae that were buried beneath the soil surface prior to application. Mortality of D. abbreviatus treated with nematodes ranged from 80-98% and 50-75% in laboratory and field experiments, respectively. In all experiments, we did not detect any significant effects of culture method or formulation.


biological control; citrus; culture; diaprepes; abbreviatus; entomopathogenic nematode; formulation; steinernema riobrave

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