Entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) have been identified as being promising biological control agents of key insect pests. The two EPN genera that have shown potential for use as biological control agents within an integrated pest management programme are Steinernema and Heterorhabditis. Large numbers of EPNs can be produced through either in vivo or in vitro culturing practices. Commercialization and the successful use of EPNs to control pests in North America, Australia, Europe and Asia have confirmed the effectiveness of these organisms as biological control agents. Two endemic EPN isolates to South Africa, Heterorhabditis zealandica (SF41) and H. bacteriophora (SF351) have been shown to be effective control agents of codling moth, Cydia pomonella, false codling moth, Thaumatotibia leucotreta, obscure mealybug, Pseudococcus viburni, and the banded fruit weevil, Phlyctinus callosus. Unfortunately, EPNs in large enough numbers for commercial field applications are not yet available on the South African market.
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Vol. 22 • No. 2