• Heterorhabditis bacteriophora;
  • Heterorhabditis megidis;
  • Steinernema feltiae;
  • western corn rootworm


The western corn rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte, Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) is an invasive maize (Zea mays L.) pest in Europe. Crop yield is significantly impacted by the feeding of all three larval instars on maize roots, making them prime targets for control measures. Therefore, the control efficacy of three entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs), Steinernema feltiae (Filipjev), Heterorhabditis bacteriophora Poinar, and H. megidis Poinar, Jackson and Klein (Nematoda: Rhabditida), was studied in four field plot experiments in southern Hungary in 2005 and 2006. All EPN species significantly reduced D. v. virgifera independently, whether applied as a row spray with a solid stream into the soil at sowing or onto the soil along maize rows in June. When applied at maize sowing, H. bacteriophora was more effective at reducing D. v. virgifera (81%) than H. megidis (49%) and S. feltiae (36%). When applied in June, H. bacteriophora and H. megidis were more effective at reducing D. v. virgifera (around 70%) than S. feltiae (32%). All tested EPN species significantly reduced damage on maize roots independently, whether they were applied at sowing or in June. Damage, however, was not totally prevented. The use of H. bacteriophora for the development of a biological control product for inundative releases against D. v. virgifera larvae is suggested.