Biologocal control of insect pests

Four beneficial nematodes from Portugal by Ganpati Jagdale

Four beneficial nematodes including Heterorhabditis bacteriophoraSteinernema feltiaeSteinernema intermedium and Steinernema kraussei have been reported from Portugal. 

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Two beneficial entomopathogenic nematodes for cucurbit fly control by Ganpati Jagdale

Two beneficial entomopathogenic nematodes including Heterorhabditis bacteriophora (Fig.1) and Steinernema carpocapsae (Fig. 2) have showed a potential to control cucurbit flies, Dacus ciliatus (Kamali et al., 2013). These nematodes are considered as beneficial nematodes because they have been used as biological control agents to control insects that are damaging to crops and harmful to animals

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Biological control of the peanut burrower bug, Pangaeus bilineatus by Ganpati Jagdale

The peanut burrower bugs are true bugs because they belong to an insect family Cydnidae in the order, Hemiptera. The peanut burrower bugs are scientifically known as Pangaeus bilineatus and considered as one of the major insects pests of peanuts in the peanut, Arachis hypogaea producing States in the U.S. (Lis et al. 2000) .

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Two biological agents for the control of strawberry root weevils by Ganpati Jagdale

Strawberry root weevils [Otiorhynchus ovatus] are one of the most important insect pests of strawberry crop.  Adults of strawberry root weevil feed on the edges of strawberry leaves [leaf notching] but this damage is not considered as economically important like the damage caused by their larval stages to strawberry roots [root pruning].

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Storage temperature can influence beneficial nematode activity by Ganpati Jagdale

Several different species of white grubs including Anomala orientalis, Ataenius spretulus, Blitopertha orientalis, Cotinus nitida, Cyclocephala borealis, Cyclocephala pasadenae, Cyclocephala hirta, Exomala orientalis, Hoplia philanthus, Maladera castanea, Melolontha melolontha, Phyllophaga Spp. and Rhizotrogus majalis are major pests of turf grass.

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Entomopathogenic nematodes can even infect and kill citrus mealybugs by Ganpati Jagdale

Citrus mealybug Planococcus citri is a serious insect pest of many greenhouse plants as well as fruit crops in the field. There are different biological, chemical and cultural approaches available for the management of citrus mealybugs.

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Beneficial nematodes for control of termite Reticulitermes flavipes by Ganpati Jagdale

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.

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Discovery of parasitic wasps of Sawyer beetles, Monochamus species by Ganpati Jagdale

Parasitic wasps and Sawyer beetles, Monochamus species Pine wilt disease is caused by the pinewood nematode (Bursaphelenchus xylophilus), which is primarily vectored by Sawyer beetles, Monochamus spp. 

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Efficacy of entomopathogenic nematodes against cigarette beetles by Ganpati Jagdale

Entomopathogenic nematodes and cigarette beetles

Cigarette beetle, Lasioderma serricorne is an economically important pest of stored tobacco but it can also cause damage to different cereal grains, oilseeds, flour and different kinds of dry fruits.  A laboratory study showed that the entomopathogenic nematodes including Heterorhabditis bacteriophora, Heterorhabditis megidis, Steinernema carpocapsae and Steinernema feltiae have a potential to use as biological agents against cigarette beetles, L. serricorne (Rumbos and Athanassiou, 2012).


Rumbos, C.I. and Athanassiou, C.G.  2012. Insecticidal effect of six entomopathogenic nematode strains against Lasioderma serricorne (F.) (Coleoptera: Anobiidae) and Tribolium confusum Jacquelin du Val (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae). Journal of Stored Products Research 50: 21-26.

Steinernema feltiae attracts to cues from slugs by Ganpati Jagdale

Scavenging and entomopathogenic nematodes

It has been demonstrated that an entomopathogenic nematode, Steinernema feltiae that only infect and kill their insect host but it can also be attracted to the cues released from the slug cadavers suggesting that entomopathogenic nematodes can feed on carcasses of other organisms (Nermut et al., 2012).

Read following literature on scavenging behavior and entomopathogenic nematodes

Baur, M.E., Kaya, H.K. and Strong, D.R. 1998. Foraging ants as scavengers on entomopathogenic nematode-killed insects. Biological Control 12: 231-236.

Foltan, P. and Puza, V. 2009. To complete their life cycle, pathogenic nematode-bacteria complexes deter scavengers from feeding on their host cadaver.  Behavioural Processes 80: 76-79.

Nermut, J., Puza, V. and Mracek, Z. 2012.  The response of Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita (Nematoda: Rhabditidae) and Steinernema feltiae (Nematoda: Steinernematidae) to different host-associated cues. Biological Control 61: 201-206.

Puza, V. and Mracek, Z. 2010.   Does scavenging extend the host range of entomopathogenic nematodes (Nematoda: Steinernematidae)?  Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 104: 1-3

San-Blas, E. and Gowen, S.R. 2008.   Facultative scavenging as a survival strategy of entomopathogenic nematodes. International Journal for Parasitology 38: 85-91.

San-Blas, E. and Gowen, S.R. and Pembroke, B. 2008.  Scavenging or infection? Possible host choosing by entomopathogenic nematodes. Nematology 10: 251-259.

Control white grub with beneficial nematodes-Nematode information by Ganpati Jagdale

Efficacy of entomopathogenic nematodes against white grub, Holotrichia longipennis Today, I read a paper published in Journal of Pest Science by Khatri-Chhetri et al. (2011), who tested the efficacy of two newly isolated entomopathogenic nematode species from Nepal against white grub, Holotrichia longipennis.  This white grub is a very serious pest of many crops including black gram, cabbage, chilies, maize, millet, paddy soybean and tomato. 

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Entomopathogenic nematodes for the control of wireworm, Agriotes lineatus by Ganpati Jagdale

Entomopathogenic nematodes and Wireworms, Agriotes lineatus- Nematode Information Wireworm, Agriotes lineatus cause a tremendous loss to potato yields throughout the world. As biological control agent, entomopathogenic nematodes can serve as a safe alternative to chemical pesticides in managing wireworms and helping to increase potato yields.  It has been shown that the entomopathogenic nematode, Heterorhabditis bacteriophora can cause over 67% mortality of wireworm, Agriotes lineatus within three weeks of application (Ansari et al., 2009).


Ansari, M.A., Evans, M. and Butt, T.M. 2009. Identification of pathogenic strains of entomopathogenic nematodes and fungi for wireworm control. Crop Protection 28: 269-272.

Control sugarcane billbug, Sphenophorus levis with beneficial nematodes by Ganpati Jagdale

Entomopathogenic nematodes and the sugarcane billbug, Sphenophorus levis- Nematode Information Sugarcane is grown as an important cash crop in many countries but insect pests like the sugarcane billbug, Sphenophorus levis can cause a tremendous yield loss to this crop. Entomopathogenic nematodes have a great potential to use as a biological control agent against the sugarcane bill bugs. Recently, Giometti et al. (2011) reported that entomopathogenic nematodes including Steinernema brazilense strain IBCB n6 and three strains of Heterorhabditis sp. (IBCB n10, IBCB n24 and IBCB n44) were highly virulent causing over 60% mortality of adults of the sugarcane billbug. Sphenophorus levis.  


Giometti, FHC, Leite, LG., Tavares, FM., Schmit, F.S., Batista, A. and Dell'Acqua, R. 2011.  Virulence of entomopathogenic nematodes (Nematoda: Rhabditida) against Sphenophorus levis (Coleoptera: Curculionidae).   Bragantia 70: 81-86.

Biological control of stored grain pests with Entomopathogenic nematodes by Ganpati Jagdale

Stored grain/ product pests: Nematode Information Several stored grain/product insect pests like Indian meal moth (Plodia interpunctella)Mediterranean flour moth (Ephestia kuehniella)Sawtoothed grain beetle (Oryzaephilus surinamensis)Mealworms (Tenebrio molitor)Red flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum) and Warehouse beetle (Trogoderma variabile) attack and destroy large quantities of stored grains and products during long-term storage in farm bins, grain processing facilities, warehouses, retail stores, and eventually also on the consumer shelves. 

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Entomopathogenic nematode Steinernema siamkayai reported from India- Nematode information by Ganpati Jagdale

A warm-adapted entomopathogenic nematode Steinernema siamkayai Tiruchirappalli strain can cause 45-100% larval mortality of various insect species including Galleria mellonellaSpodoptera exiguaCeratitis capitataCydia splendana and Tenebrio molitor when tested under laboratory conditions at temperatures between 15- 37C (Raja et al., 2011).

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Entomopathogenic nematodes for the biological control of Colorado potato beetles- Nematode information by Ganpati Jagdale

Entomopathogenic nematodes and Colorado potato beetle

  • Colorado potato beetles (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) are a most damaging pest of potatoes but they can also cause a significant damage to tomatoes and eggplants.
  • Generally, both adults and larvae feed voraciously on leaves causing hundreds of millions dollars in yield loss each year in the United States.
  • Many chemical insecticides have been recommended to control these beetles but unfortunately beetles have an ability to develop resistance to insecticides.
  • Entomopathogenic nematodes as biological control agents could provide an alternative to chemical pesticides in management of Colorado potato beetles.
  • As entomopathogenic nematodes naturally found soil, they are very effective against soil dwelling stages of host insect pests.  For example, mature larvae of Colorado potato beetle that moves in the soil for pupation can be a very good target for entomopathogenic nematodes.
  • Commercially available entomopathogenic nematode species including Steinernema carpocapsae, Steinernema feltiae, Heterorhabditis megidis, Heterorhabditis marelata and Heterorhabditis bacteriophora have showed a very high efficacy against adult, larval and prepupal stages of Colorado potato beetles when tested in soil under laboratory conditions.


  1. Ebrahimi, L., Niknam, G. and Lewis, E. E. 2011.   Lethal and sublethal effects of Iranian isolates of Steinernema feltiae and Heterorhabditis bacteriophora on the Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineataBiocontrol 56: 781-788.
  2. Ebrahimi, L.,Niknam, G.and Dunphy, G.B. 2011. Hemocyte responses of the Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata, and the greater wax moth, Galleria mellonella, to the entomopathogenic nematodes, Steinernema feltiae andHeterorhabditis bacteriophora . Journal of Insect Science 11, Article Number: 75.
  3. Armer, C.A., Berry, R.E., Reed, G.L. and Jepsen, S.J. 2004.  Colorado potato beetle control by application of the entomopathogenic nematode Heterorhabditis marelata and potato plant alkaloid manipulation. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata. 111: 47-58.
  4. Berry, R.E., Liu, J. and Reed, G. 1997.  Comparison of endemic and exotic entomopathogenic nematode species for control of Colorado potato beetle (Coleoptera : Chrysomelidae). Journal of Economic Entomology. 90: 1528-1533.
  5. Cantelo, W.W. and Nickle, W.R. 1992. Susceptibility of prepupae of the Colorado potato beetle (coleoptera, chrysomelidae) to entomopathogenic nematodes (Rhabditida, Steinernematidae, Heterorhabditidae). Journal of Entomological Science. 27: 37-43.
  6. Nickle, W.R., Connick, W.J. and Cantelo, W.W. 1994. Effects of pesta-pelletized Steinernema-carpocapsae (all) on western corn rootworms and colorado potato beetles. Journal of Nematology. 26: 249-250.
  7. Trdan, S., Vidrih, M., Andjus, L. and Laznik, Z. 2009. Activity of four entomopathogenic nematode species against different developmental stages of Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae. Helminthologia. 46: 14-20.

Entomopathogenic nematodes for the biological control of False codling moth- Nematode information by Ganpati Jagdale

Entomopathogenic nematodes and False codling moth
  • A presence of entomopathogenic nematode species including Steinernema khoisanae, Steinernema yirgalemense, Steinernema citrae, Heterorhabditis bacteriophora and Heterorhabditis zealandica have been reported in citrus orchards in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga provinces of South Africa (Malan et al., 2011).
  • All the above nematode species have showed a very high virulence against false codling moth, Thaumatotibia leucotreta an economically important pest of citrus in South Africa.  For example, S. yirgalemense can cause over 74% mortality of both larval and pupal mortality of false codling moth when applied at the rate of 50-200 infective juveniles/ larval or pupal stages of false codling moth.
  • Two entomopathogenic nematode species including S. yirgalemense and S. citrae were reported for the first time from South Africa (Malan et al., 2011).

Read following papers on entomopathogenic nematodes from South Africa

de Waal, J.Y., Malan, A.P. and Addison, M.F. 2011.  Evaluating mulches together with Heterorhabditis zealandica (Rhabditida: Heterorhabditidae) for the control of diapausing codling moth larvae, Cydia pomonella (L.) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae).  Biocontrol Science and Technology 21: 255-270.

de Waal, J.Y., Malan, A.P., Levings, J. and Addison, M.F. 2010.  Key elements in the successful control of diapausing codling moth, Cydia pomonella (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) in wooden fruit bins with a South African isolate of Heterorhabditis zealandica (Rhabditida: Heterorhabditidae). Biocontrol Science and Technology. 20: 489-502.

Hatting, J., Stock, S.P. and Hazir, S.  2009. Diversity and distribution of entomopathogenic nematodes (Steinernematidae, Heterorhabditidae) in South Africa.  Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 102: 120-128.

Malan, A.P., Knoetze, R. and Moore, S.D.  2011.  Isolation and identification of entomopathogenic nematodes from citrus orchards in South Africa and their biocontrol potential against false codling moth. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 108: 115-125.

Malan, A.P., Nguyen, K. B. and Addison, M. F. 2006.  Entomopathogenic nematodes (Steinernematidae and Heterorhabditidae) from the southwestern parts of South Africa. African Plant Protection 12: 65-69.

Malan, A.P., Nguyen, K.B., de Waal, J.Y. and Tiedt, L. 2008. Heterorhabditis safricana n. sp (Rhabditida : Heterorhabditidae), a new entomopathogenic nematode from South Africa. Nematology 10: 381-396.

Entomopathogenic nematode identification with a quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) by Ganpati Jagdale

Entomopathogenic nematodes and qPCR Quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) technique can be used for the identification of entomopathogenic nematodes in the both Heterorhabditidae and Steinernematodae families directly from soil samples.

Species specific primers and TaqMan (R) probes from the ITS rDNA region for the EPNs were used for the identification of four species of entomopathogenic nematodes including Heterorhabditis bacteriophora, Steinernema carpocapsae, Steinernema feltiae and Steinernema scapterisci (Campos-Herrera et al., 2011).

A publication on indentification of entomopathogenic nematodes using quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) technique.

Campos-Herrera, R., El-Borai, F.E., Stuart, R.J., Graham, J.H. and Duncan, L.W. 2011.   Entomopathogenic nematodes, phoretic Paenibacillus spp., and the use of real time quantitative PCR to explore soil food webs in Florida citrus groves. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 108: 30-39.