Can you control stored grain insect pests with entomopathogenic nematodes? / by Ganpati Jagdale

Pulse (legume) grains are considered as the important sources of protein, fats, carbohydrates, sugar and vitamin. B.  In developing countries pulses are a cheaper protein source than meat.  Many insect pests including red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum (Herbst), India meal moth Plodia interpunctella, Mediterranean flour moth Ephestia kuehniella (Zeller), saw thoothed grain beetle Oryzaephilus surinomensis (L.), yellow mealworm Tenebrio molitor (L.) and the ware house beetle Trogoderma variable (Ballion) cause a serious damage to these crops in the field and grains in the storage.  The efficacy of entomopathogenic nematodes against many stored grain/product pests have been studied by many researchers (Athanassiou et al., 2008; Moris, 1985; Romos-Rodriguez et al., 2006).  In the laboratory, an entomopathogenic nematode, Steinernema feltiae when applied at the rate 900 infective juveniles per insect caused over 66% mortality of both adults and larvae of T. confusum. This nematode when applied at the same rate also caused over 52% mortality of E. kuehniella. (Athanassiou et al., 2008)  Under laboratory conditions, another species of nematode, S. riobrave can cause about 70% mortality of T. castaneum (Ramos-Rodríguez et al., 2007). It has also been demonstrated that nematodes including S. carpocapsae, Heterorhabditis bacteriophora and H. megidis have a potential to control the adults of two stored grain pests including, Sitophilus granarius and O. surinamensis (Tradan, 2006). Mbata and Shapiro-IIan (2005) also showed that various heterorhabditis nematodes including H. bacteriophora (HP88, Lewiston, and Oswego strains); H. indica (Homl strain); H. marelatus (Point Reyes strain); H. megidis (UK211 strain); and H. zealandica (NZH3 strain) have potential to kill larvae and adults of P. interpunctella. For more information on biological control of stored grain pets with entomopathogenice nematodes; please read following research papers:

Athanassiou CG, Palyvos NE, Kakoull-Duarte T. 2008. Insecticidal effect of Steinernema feltiae (Filipjev) (Nematoda : Steinernematidae) against Tribolium confusum du Val (Coleoptera : Tenebrionidae) and Ephestia kuehniella (Zeller) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) in stored wheat  Journal of Stored Products Research. 44: 52-57.

Mbata, G.N., and Shapiro-Ilan, D.I. 2005. Laboratory evaluation of virulence of heterorhabditid nematodes to Plodia interpunctella Hübner (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). Environmental Entomology 34: 676 - 682.

Ramos-Rodríguez, O., Campbell, J. F., and Ramaswamy, S. 2006. Pathogenicity of three species of entomopathogenic nematodes to some major stored- product insect pest. Journal of Stored Product Research 42: 241 - 252.

Ramos-Rodríguez,O.,Campbell, J. F.,and Ramaswamy, S. 2007. Efficacy of the   entomopathogenic nematodes Steinernema riborave against the stored-product pests Tribolium castaneum and Plodia interpunctella. Biological Control 40:15 -21.

Tradan, S., Vidric, M., and Valic, N. 2006. Activity of four entomopathogenic nematodes against young adult of Sitophilus granarious (Coleptera: Curculionidae ) and Oryzophilus surinamensis ( Coleoptera: Silvanidae ) under laboratory condition. Plant Disease and Protection. 113: 168 - 173.