Comparison of Three Methods for Estimating the Number of Entomopathogenic Nematodes Present in Soil Samples

J. Curran, Jian Heng


Numbers of Steinernema sp. (CB2B) and S. carpocapsae (Agriotos) exponentially declined after application into a clay loam soil. Over a 35-day sampling period, Steinernema sp. (CB2B) was more persistent than S. carpocapsae (Agriotos). The presence or absence of the second-stage cuticle on the third-stage juveniles (J3) at the time of application did not alter the rate of population decline of Steinernema sp. (CB2B). Nearly all J3 of Steinernema sp. (CB2B) and S. carpocapsae (Agriotos) lost their cuticle within 24 hours of being in soil. Centrifugal flotation recovered the greatest number of nematodes, with a lower variance than either the live bait or Baermann funnel techniques. A strong positive linear relationship was evident between numbers of nematodes present in the soil and the numbers that established in a bait insect. Approximately 40% of Steinernema sp. (CB2B) and 30% of the S. carpocapsae (Agriotos) present in the soil established in Galleria mellonella larvae. The extraction techniques had different efficiencies and gave different relative estimates of persistence for the two species. Persistence and infectivity was best measured using a combination of live bait and flotation techniques. Key words: entomopathogenic nematode, extraction technique, Galleria, infectivity, nematode, persistence, Steinernema carpocapsae, Steinernema sp.

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