What are EPNs ?
Entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) are pathogens of insects that occur naturally in the soil.
In combination with their symbiotic bacteria, they can be used in an integrated control programme against many insect pests.
These biological control agents have a wide host range and the ability to actively search for their host, while remaining harmless to other organisms and the environment.
How do EPNs work ?
The infective juvenile of the EPN seeks out insect hosts. When a host has been located, the nematodes penetrate into the insect body cavity, usually via natural body openings. Once in the body cavity, a symbiotic bacterium is released, which multiplies rapidly and causes rapid insect death. The nematodes feed on the bacteria and the liquefying host. The life cycle is completed in a few days and hundreds of thousands of new, infective, juveniles emerge in search of fresh hosts.