Entomopathogenic nematodes (Steinernematidae) as biological control agents for the control of zoophytophagous mirids


Abstract: Nesidiocoris tenuis is a zoophytophagous mirid currently commercialized (van
Lenteren et al., 2012) and released to control whiteflies and Tuta absoluta (Meyrick) in
Mediterranean greenhouses. However, this mirid often requires actions to regulate its
populations since it can damage tomato plants. Recently, some tomato growers were advised to use entomopathogenic nematodes (EPN) to manage N. tenuis. In most cases, populations of N. tenuis decreased to economically acceptable levels, following EPN applications to tomato plants. To better understand these field results we prepared a laboratory experiment to determine the susceptibility of N. tenuis to the nematode Steinernema carpocapsae (Weiser) (Rhabditina: Steinernematidae). We also tested the susceptibility of the mirids Macrolophus pygmaeus and Dicyphus cerastii, since these species naturally occur on tomato crops. Adults were exposed to different EPN concentrations on Petri dishes for a total of 48 h. All the mirid species were infected by S. carpocapsae. Nesidiocoris tenuis appeared to be more susceptible than the other species.

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