The red palm weevil, Rhynocophorus ferrugineus (Olivier) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) has become the most important pest of the date palm trees in the world. It has been reported in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia since 1987 and in Egypt since 1992. Studies were conducted to compare preferences among red palm weevil life stages for infection by 12 entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs), under no choice and five stage choice experiments, and curative trials by some of EPNs isolates. All EPN isolates proved to be pathogenic for the first instars of red palm weevil larvae. Some of the test EPNs exhibited a preference for larvae over pupae, and a lesser degree of preference for adults. In contrast some strains showed no preference for any stage. The local Egyptian isolates ofEPNs were most efficient nematodes against red palm weevil than foreign strains. Field assessments using trunk injection resulted in a substantial decline in the population of red palm weevil after two successive applications within 3 wk. Efficacies ranging 48–88% were achieved in the curative assay resulting in a significant increase in palm survival compared with the untreated control. In conclusion, there is a great potential for the use of EPNs, in particular the Steinernema sp. (EGG4), against the red palm weevil when injected in the date palm.
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Vol. 107 • No. 4