Pheromone Treatment Boosts Effectiveness of Beneficial Nematodes

Scientists with USDA Agricultural Research Service published a study in The Journal of Invertebrate Pathology that showed beneficial nematodes are more effective at controlling crop-damaging insects when they’re treated with a pheromone that changes their behavior. The pheromone-induced nematodes were 28 to 78% more effective in controlling pecan weevils and black soldier flies in greenhouse soil than non-exposed nematodes. The pheromone is produced by the beneficial nematodes themselves, and its absence or presence either directs the nematodes to disperse or to kill insect pests. ARS has established a cooperative research agreement with Pheronym, an ag-biotech pest control company that develops and produces nematode pheromones.