Production costs and limited regional availability are two key factors limiting the widespread adoption of entomopathogenic nematodes (Rhabditida: Heterorhabditidae and Steinernematidae) in biological control programs. We explore the potential of using black soldier fly larvae Hermetia illucens (L.) (Diptera: Stratiomyidae) as an alternative in vivo rearing host to the greater wax moth, Galleria mellonella (L.) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). We injured black soldier fly larvae to test the hypothesis that the tough cuticle was preventing the penetration of founding infective juveniles (IJs) into the host and egress of offspring from the cadaver. Injuring the black soldier fly larvae increased the infection rate, the number of nematodes entering a host, and the number of IJs harvested from a cadaver. Black soldier fly larvae, however, provided at most 10-fold less IJs compared to G. mellonella. In olfactometer assays, we assessed nematode behavioral responses to wounded black soldier fly larvae. Steinernema carpocapsae did not move towards the insects. Heterorhabditis bacteriophora was attracted to black soldier fly larvae but not G. mellonella. Heterorhabditis bacteriophora did not show a preference for injured black soldier fly larvae over non-injured larvae. Thus, increased colonization on wounded black soldier fly larvae was likely due to additional entry points rather than an increase in their apparency in the soil solution.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics