BACKGROUND: An investigation was carried out to determine whether new neonicotinoid–nematode combinations and earlier applications against younger larval stages could increase the efficacy of synergistic neonicotinoid–entomopathogenic nematode combinations against white grubs.
RESULTS: In the laboratory, combinations of the neonicotinoids imidacloprid and clothianidin and the nematodes Heterorhabditis bacteriophora Poinar and H. zealandica Poinar against third instars were compared. In Anomala orientalis (Waterhouse) and Popillia japonica Newman, H. bacteriophora–imidacloprid combinations showed the most consistent synergism but did not cause significantly higher mortality than H. zealandica–imidacloprid combinations. In Cyclocephala borealis Arrow, there was no clear trend as to which combinations caused the most consistent synergism, but H. zealandica–imidacloprid combinations tended to cause the highest mortalities. In the laboratory, imidacloprid–H. bacteriophora combinations provided more consistent synergism against third-instar than against second-instar A. orientalis, but mortality was higher in second instars. In field experiments, imidacloprid–H. bacteriophora combinations against A. orientalis and P. japonica provided more consistent synergism when applied in mid-September but more consistent control when applied in late August.
CONCLUSIONS: Imidacloprid is a better synergist for entomopathogenic nematodes than clothianidin. Imidacloprid–nematode combinations are more effective against second instars than against third instars, allowing rate reductions of both agents to make this approach more competitive with full-rate applications of neonicotinoid alone. Copyright © 2008 Society of Chemical Industry