Steinernematids and Heterorhabditids as Biological Control Agents for Red Palm Weevil (Rhynchophorus Ferrugineus Oliv.)

S. B. Hanounik


Chemical insecticides have long, been considered as the primary method or insect control, but their use has been associated with suppression of non-target species, emergence of resistant strains, contamination of food crops and water. These concerns enhanced the enforcement of strict governmental regulations which limited the use of such chemicals and stimulated the search for alternative biological control methods. Entomopathogenic nematodes in the families Steinernematidae and Heterorhabditidae received a considerable attention. These nematodes seek and rapidly kill a wide range of insects, including the red palm weevil. They are safe to plants and mammals, exempt from registration requirements, easy to apply by sprayers or drip irrigation systems and compatible with many chemicals. Application of genetically enhanced strains of Steinemematids and Heterorhahditids to larvae of red palm weevils resulted in 95 – 100% mortalities in the laboratory and 50% in the field. Additional work is needed to improve virulence, mass production technologies, tolerance to adverse conditions, formulations, and release strategies of entomopathogenic nematodes before they can be commercialized as biological control agents for red palm weevils and other cryptic insects attacking aerial plant parts in the region.


Agricultural Sciences

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Copyright (c) 2017 S. B. Hanounik

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


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