Entomopathogenic nematodes

Adult Nematodes Emerging From Flea Beetle Adult

2000. Ralph E. Berry,Department of Entomology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR.

Infection of insect hosts by parasitic nematodes is initiated by the free-living third-stage infective juveniles (IJs). Nematodes enter the host through natural openings, such as the mouth, anus, and spiracles. Once inside their host, IJs release their symbiotic bacteria, which kills the insect within 48 hrs. The bacteria, which multiply in the insect host, are consumed and digested by the developing nematodes. Nematodes complete development to the adult stage inside the insect host. Females lay eggs in the dead insect that hatch and develop into the IJs that escape into the soil from their dead insect host. Parasitic nematodes have several important attributes that make them excellent candidates for biological control of soil insects. Numerous insect pests on many different crops are controlled by parasitic nematodes, including root weevils, flea beetles, mint root borer, Colorado potato beetle, and other species of borers, white grubs, and caterpillars.

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