Modelling the efficacy of entomopathogenic nematodes in the regulation of invertebrate pests in glasshouse crops.

Published online
14 Jul 2000
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
Journal of Applied Ecology

Fenton, A. & Norman, R. & Fairbairn, J. P. & Hudson, P. J.

Publication language


To consider the potential of entomopathogenic nematodes as biological control agents, a generalized analytical modelling approach was adopted and, using realistic parameter estimates, the conditions under which these nematodes can regulate a pest population was determined. Stability analyses suggested that entomopathogenic nematodes may not be capable of regulating a host population to a stable equilibrium. Long-term persistence of the host and nematode population is unlikely, due to the highly destabilizing effects of the parasite-host relationship. As such, these nematodes may be better suited to short-term control through inundative application techniques rather than long-term regulation. This preliminary generalized model highlights areas where further work is needed. This includes estimation of the probability of nematode infection in the field, the effect of host size on the transmission cycle and the influence of spatial heterogeneity on stability.

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