Biological control of termite, Reticulitermes flavipes
Eastern Subterranean Termite, Reticulitermes flavipes are the most destructive and economically important pest of wood industry. Current research shows that the entomopathogenic nematodes also called beneficial nematodes have a potential to use as environmentally safe biological control agents against termites.
According to Manzoor (2012), when two entomopathogenic nematode species including Steinernema carpocapsae and Heterorhabditis bacteriophora applied individually against eastern subterranean termite, R. flavipes, showed no detrimental effects on both workers and nymphs of the termites.
In contrast, Wang et al (2002) showed that the S. carpocapsae and H. bacteriophora were effective against R. flavipes. These efficacy differences of the same nematode species between two studies may be due the differences in the strains of nematode species used in each study. Wang et al (2002) also demonstrated that an entomopathogenic nematode, H. indica was more efficacious than both the S. carpocapsae and H. bacteriophora against R. flavipes.
Manzoor (2012) also showed that these two nematode species when applied together with an insecticide imidacloprid, each nematode caused over 50 mortality of workers and nymphs of R. flavipes (Manzoor, 2012). This is a good finding but unfortunately use of any chemical insecticides in or around the houses to control termites may not be advisable because of their harmful effects on human and animal health, and the environment.
Manzoor, F. 2012. Synergism of Imidacloprid and Entomopathogenic Nematodes for the Control of Eastern Subterranean Termite, Reticulitermes flavipes (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae). Pakistan Journal of Zoology 44: 1397-1403.
Wang, C., Powell, J.E. and Nguyen, K. 2002. Laboratory evaluations of four entomopathogenic nematodes for control of subterranean termites (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae). Environmental Entomology 31: 381-387.