Target Host Finding by Steinernema feltiae and Heterorhabditis bacteriophora in the Presence of a Non-Target Insect Host

Jeff R. Powell, John M. Webster


The ability of Steinernema feltiae or Heterorhabditis bacteriophora infective juveniles (IJ), when applied to the soil surface, to infect a Galleria mellonella larva at the base of a soil-filled cup (276 cm³) was evaluated in the presence and absence of 100 larvae of a non-target insect, the aphid midge Aphidoletes aphidimyza, near the soil surface. In all four trials with either S. feltiae or H. bacteriophora, A. aphidimyza presence did not affect the number of IJ finding and infecting a G. mellonella larva. Steinernema feltiae and H. bacteriophora IJ movement (as measured by the percentage of IJ aggregating on either side of an experimental arena) in the presence of one or many A. aphidimyza larvae was evaluated in agar- and soil-filled petri dishes, respectively. Infective juvenile movement in the presence of A. aphidimyza did not differ from random, indicating that IJ were not attracted to A. aphidimyza. It is suggested, therefore, that A. aphidimyza does not reduce IJ efficacy when these two forms of biological control agent are present together in a field situation even though it is known that A. aphidimyza is susceptible to IJ of these species.


aphidoletes aphidimyza; entomopathogenic nematodes; galleria mellonella; heterorhabditis bacteriophora; host finding; nontarget; steinernema feltiae

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