Social insects including ants, termites and wasps can sting and cause harm to people. Termites and some species of ants are considered as serious pests of many crops and wooden structures (e. g. houses). Wasp insects including yellowjackets can be dangerous to people and domestic animals because of their ability to sting. Red imported fire ants (Solenopsis spp.) can cause serious injuries to people and animals. Insect-parasitic nematodes have a potential to use as biological control agents to kill these noxious social insects. It has been demonstrated that two insect-parasitic nematodes including Steinernema carpocapase, S. feltiae and Heterorhabditis bacteriophora can cause over 70% mortality of yellowjacket, Vespula pensylvanica under laboratory conditions (Gambino, 1984; Guzman, 1984). Steinernema carpocapsae can cause over 60% mortality of fire ants under laboratory conditions (Drees et al., 1992). It has been reported that S. feltiae when applied at the rate of 1,500,000 infective juveniles/nest can cause over 97% mortality of termites, Coptotermes formosanus and Reticulitermes speratus ( Wu et al., 1991). According to Wang et al (2002), both H. indica and H. bacteriophora were capable of infecting and killing termites, C. formosanus and R. flavipes in petri dish tests.
Please read following papers for more information on interaction between social insects and insect-parasitic nematodes.
Drees, B.M., Miller, R.W., Vinson, S.B. and Georgis, R. 1992. Susceptibility and behavioral response of of red imported fire ant (Hymenoptera: formicidae) to selected entomogenous nematodes (Rhabditida: Steinernematidae & Heterorhabditidae). Journal of Economic Entomology. 85: 365-370.
Gambino, P. 1984. Susceptibility of western yellowjacket, Vespula pensylvanica to three species of three entomogenous nematodes. International Research Communications System Medical Science: Microbiology, Parasitology and Infectious Diseases. 12: 264.
Guzman, R.F. 1984. Preliminary evaluation of the potential of Steinernema feltiae for controlling Vespula germanica. New Zealand Journal of Zoology. 11: 100.
Wang, C., Powell, J.E. and Nguyen, K. 2002. Laboratory Evaluation of four entomopathogenic nematodes for control of subterranean termites (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae). Environmental Entomology. 31: 381-387.
Wu, H.J., Wang, Z.N., Ou, C.F., Tsai, R.S. and Chow, Y.S. 1991. Susceptibility of two Formosan termites to the entomogenous nematode Steinernema feltiae Filipjev. Bulletin of the institute of Zoology, Academia Sinica. 30: 31-39.