Compatibility of Soil Amendments with Entomopathogenic Nematodes


  • Andrzej Bednarek
  • Randy Gaugler


The impact of inorganic and organic fertilizers on the infectivity, reproduction, and population dynamics of entomopathogenic nematodes was investigated. Prolonged (10- to 20-day) laboratory exposure to high inorganic fertilizer concentrations inhibited nematode infectivity and reproduction, whereas short (1-day) exposures increased infectivity. Heterorhabditis bacteriophora was more sensitive to adverse effects than were two species of Steinernema. In field studies, organic manure resulted in increased densities of a native population of Steinernema feltiae, whereas NPK fertilizer suppressed nematode densities regardless of manure applications. Inorganic fertilizers are likely to be compatible with nematodes in tank mixes and should not reduce the effectiveness of nematodes used for short-term control as biological insecticides, but may interfere with attempts to use nematodes as inoculative agents for long-term control. Organic manure used as fertilizer may encourage nematode establishment and recycling. Key words: amendments, biological control, entomopathogenic nematode, fertilizer, Heterorhabditis bacteriophora, manure, Steinernema feltiae, Steinernema anomali.