Infectivity preferences of Steinernema feltiae Filipjev: Galleria melonella (Linnaeus, 1758), Tenebrio molitor Linnaeus, 1758, or Hermetia illucens Linnaeus, 1758?
Abstract: Entomopathogenic nematodes of the genus Steinernema are successfully used as biological control agents against a large group of important agricultural pests. On a small scale, EPNs are reared with larvae of Galleria mellonella or Tenebrionidae. The black soldier fly Hermetia illucens is one of the most useful flies. It serves various purposes such as decomposition of waste, compost production, biomonitoring, production of fish, poultry and pet food, etc. Considering how easy it is to multiply them in terms of life cycle duration, number of larvae available and environmental requirements, they can be a great candidate for rearing EPNs. Therefore, the main objective of this study was to test the preferences of these EPNs and the suitability of H. illucens as a host for rearing an endemic strain of Steinernema feltiae. Laboratory tests were carried out with third and fourth instar H. illucens larvae in Petri dishes containing G. mellonella or Tenebrio molitor larvae. Our results showed that the preferences of S. feltiae IJs differed between host species. While they were able to attack H. illucens, S. feltiae caused higher molarity in G. mellonella and T. molitor larvae. Further experiments should be conducted to investigate the mechanisms and preferences of EPNs infections.