Entomopathogenic nematodes (Rhabditida: Steinernematidae and Heterorhabditidae) for the control of codling moth, Cydia pomonella (L.) under South African conditions

De Waal, Jeanne Yvonne (2008-12)

Thesis (MScAgric (Conservation Ecology and Entomology))--Stellenbosch University, 2008.


The codling moth, Cydia pomonella (L.), is a key pest in pome fruit orchards in South Africa. In the past, broad spectrum insecticides were predominantly used for the local control of this moth in orchards. Concerns over human safety, environmental impact, widespread dispersal of resistant populations of codling moth and sustainability of synthetic pesticide use have necessitated the development and use of alternative pest management technologies, products and programmes, such as the use of entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) for the control of codling moth. Entomopathogenic nematodes belonging to either Steinernematidae or Heterorhabditidae are ideal candidates for incorporation into the integrated pest management programme currently being developed for pome fruit orchards throughout South Africa with the ultimate aim of producing residuefree fruit. However, these lethal pathogens of insects are not exempted from governmental registration requirements and have therefore not yet been commercialized in South Africa. A nontarget survey was conducted to find suitable isolates of EPNs from local soils and to test their effectiveness as control agents against the codling moth. Soil samples were collected from several habitats and regions throughout South Africa and nematodes were recovered using the insect baiting technique. All EPN isolates obtained were identified to species level using a molecular taxonomic approach. Entomopathogenic nematodes were recovered from 20 of the 200 soil samples (10 %). Of these, eight (40 %) yielded Steinernema spp., identified as three isolates of S. khoisanae and five undescribed Steinernema spp. The other 12 (60 %) of the samples were positive for Heterorhabditis spp. and included six isolates of H. bacteriophora, five H. zealandica and one H. safricana. These isolates were then evaluated in laboratory bioassays for their potential as microbial agents of codling moth under varying conditions. A morphometric study indicated that all natural openings (mouth, anus and spiracles) of final instar codling moth were large enough for the infective juveniles (IJs) of all tested EPN species to gain entry into the larvae.

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