Beneficial Steinernema carpocapsae nematodes have a potential to control tropical sod webworm, Herpetogramma phaeopteralis, one of the most damaging pests of turfgrass. Sod worms are lepidopterous insects that cause a serious damage to turfgrasses that are grown in the athletic fields, golf courses, home lawns and recreational parks. Adult moths do not cause any type of damage to turfgrass but their larval stages feed on turfgrass and reduce its aesthetic value.Read More
Infective juveniles of entomopathogenic nematodes use three different strategies to find their insect hosts.1. Ambush foraging: Ambushers such as Steinernema carpocapsae and S. scapterisci have adapted "sit and wait" strategy to attack highly mobile insects (billbugs, sod webworms, cutworms, mole-crickets and armyworms) when they come in contact at the surface of the soil. These nematodes do not respond to host released cues but infective juveniles of some Steinernema spp can stand on their tails (nictate) and easily infect passing insect hosts by jumping on them. Since highly mobile insects live in the upper soil or thatch layer, ambushers are generally effective in infecting more insects on the surface than deep in the soil. 2. Cruise foraging: Cruiser nematodes such as Heterorhabditis bacteriophora, H. megidis, Steinernema glaseri and S. kraussei generally move actively in search of hosts and therefore, they are distributed throughout the soil profile and more effective against less mobile hosts such as white grubs and black vine weevils. Cruisers never nictate but respond to carbon dioxide released by insects as cues. 3. Intermediate foraging: Some nematode species such as Steinernema feltiae and S.riobrave have adapted a strategy in between ambush and cruise strategies called an intermediate strategy to attack both the mobile and sedentary/less mobile insects at the surface or deep in the soil. Steinernema feltiae is highly effective against fungus gnats and mushroom flies whereas S.riobrave is effective against corn earworms, citrus root weevils and mole crickets.