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

Entomopathogenic nematodes for the control of citrus mealybugs- Nematodeinformation

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

However, recently it has been shown that a few species of entomopathogenic nematodes including Steinernema yirgalemense, Heterorhabditis zealandica (van Niekerk et al., 2012), H. indica, H. bacteriophora and H. baujardi (Abd El Rahman et al., 2012) have potential to use as biological control agents to control citrus mealybug, P. citri.

Although both S. yirgalemense and H. zealandica caused over 91% mortality of females of citrus mealybugs under laboratory conditions (van Niekerk et al., 2012), it may not be practically possible under field conditions to use these nematodes against citrus mealybugs as these insects generally feed on the above ground plant parts such as shoots and leaves that are exposed to UV radiation during day time.

Since the entomopathogenic nematodes are vulnerable to UV radiation, they will not survive and infect mealybugs if applied on plant parts such shoots and leaves.


Abd El Rahman, R.M., Abd El Razzik, M.I., Osman, E.A. and Mangoud, A. A. H. 2012. Efficacy of the entomopathogenic nematodes and their based-product on some species of mealybugs (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) in Egypt.  Egypt. Acad. J. Biolog. Sci., 5: 193 -196.

van Niekerk, S. and Malan, A.P.   2012. Potential of South African entomopathogenic nematodes (Heterorhabditidae and Steinernematidae) for control of the citrus mealybug, Planococcus citri (Pseudococcidae). Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 111: 166-174.

Heterorhabditis indica