Entomopathogenic Nematodes for Control of Insect Pests Above and Below Ground with Comments on Commercial Production

Lawrence A. Lacey, Ramon Georgis

Abstract


Entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) have been utilized in classical, conservation, and augmentative biological control programs. The vast majority of applied research has focused on their potential as inundatively applied augmentative biological control agents. Extensive research over the past three decades has demonstrated both their successes and failures for control of insect pests of crops, ornamental plants, trees and lawn and turf. In this paper we present highlights of their development for control of insect pests above and below ground. The target insects include those from foliar, soil surface, cryptic and subterranean habitats. Advances in mass-production and formulation technology of EPNs, the discovery of numerous efficacious isolates/strains, and the desirability of reducing pesticide usage have resulted in a surge of commercial use and development of EPNs. Commercially produced EPNs are currently in use for control of scarab larvae in lawns and turf, fungus gnats in mushroom production, invasive mole crickets in lawn and turf, black vine weevil in nursery plants, and Diaprepes root weevil in citrus in addition to other pest insects. However, demonstrated successful control of several other insects, often has not lead to capture of a significant share of the pesticide market for these pests.

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