Nematodes

More than 30 nematode families (Nematoda, roundworms) are associated with insects. Only members of seven families are considered to have potential as biocontrol agents. Species of the Heterorhabditidae and Steinernematidae have received most attention in research and in application for control of insect pests (Stock and Hunt 2006). A member of the family Rhabditidae, Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita, is parasitic to slugs and has been developed as a biological molluscide. There are about ten species of the Heterorhabditidae known and over thirty species of the Steinernematidae (Stock and Hunt 2006), several Heterorhabditis and Steinernema species have been developed as biological insecticides. They contain symbiotic bacteria, respectively species of the genera Photorhabdus and Xenorhabdus, which cause rapid death in infected insects. More information on these nematodes and their symbiotic bacteria can be found in Gaugler (2002) and Grewal et al. (2005). The possibility of mass production in an artificial medium gives these species utility as biological insecticides. These entomopathogenic nematodes are the subject of the development of microbial pest control products covered in this book.

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