Entomopathogenic nematodes (EPN) demonstrate potential as a biological control for soil dwelling insects. However, edaphic factors, such as soil moisture and texture impact the efficacy of EPN on a host. The objectives were to examine the effects of soil texture and moisture on 1) the infection rate of Galleria mellonella L. by EPN and; 2) the ability of H. bacteriophora (Poinar) to move through the soil to find a host at different orientations. Soil textures consisted of sand, a sand/silt/peat mixture, and a silt/peat mixture at 50% and 100% moisture. A general linear model was used to evaluate infection rates and EPN movement. Both soil moisture (p < 0.05) and texture (p < 0.05) had significant effects on nematodes infection rates of G. mellonella. Texture, moisture, and host orientation did not significantly affect (p > 0.05) the ability of EPN to find a host. While EPN were able to find a host within a variety of soil types, soils that held more water had higher infection rates than soils that held less water, suggesting that moisture may be a key component in facilitating infection by EPN. By understanding the factors that influence the ability of EPN to find and infect a host, improved bio-control programs using EPN can be developed.
Hartley, Suzanne M. and Wallace, John R.
"The effects of soil moisture, soil texture, and host orientation on the ability of Heterorhabditis bacteriophora (Rhabditida: Heterorhabditidae) to infect Galleria mellonella (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae),"
The Great Lakes Entomologist, vol 50
Available at: https://scholar.valpo.edu/tgle/vol50/iss2/4