Parasitism of Western Corn Rootworm Larvae and Pupae by Steinernema carpocapsae


  • Jan J. Jackson
  • Marion A. Brooks


Virulence and development of the insect-parasitic nematode, Steinernema carpocapsae (Weiser) (Mexican strain), were evaluated for the immature stages of the western corn rootworm, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte. Third instar rootworm larvae were five times more susceptible to nematode infection than second instar larvae and 75 times more susceptible than first instar larvae and pupae, based on laboratory bioassays. Rootworm eggs were not susceptible. Nematode development was observed in all susceptible rootworm stages, but a complete life cycle was observed only in second and third instar larvae and pupae. Nematode size was affected by rootworm stage; the smallest infective-stage nematodes were recovered from second instar rootworm larvae. Results of this study suggest that S. carpocapsae should be applied when second and third instar rootworm larvae are predominant in the field. Key words: biological control, corn rootworm, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera, entomopathogenic nematode, nematode, Steinernema carpocapsae.