What are beneficial nematodes?
Nematodes are morphologically, genetically and ecologically diverse organisms occupying more varied habitats than any other animal group except arthropods. These naturally occurring organisms are microscopic, unsegmented round worms that live in the soil and, depending on the species, infect plants and animals. The two nematode families Steinernematidae and Heterorhabditidae, contain the insect parasitic nematode species. The most commonly used beneficial nematodes are Steinernema carpocapsae, S. feltiae, S. glaseri, Heterorhabditisheliothidis and H bacteriophora. Nematodes that are endoparasites of insects attack a wide variety of agricultural pests. The life cycle of beneficial nematodes consists of eggs, four larval stages and the adults. The third larval stage is the infective form of the nematode (IT). They search out susceptible hosts, primarily insect larvae, by detecting excretory products, carbon dioxide and temperature changes. Juvenile nematodes enter the insect host through