Nematodes to control insect damage

  • Viaene, Nicole (ProjectSupervisor)
  • Waeyenberge, Lieven (Researcher)
  • Zadji, Lionel (Former Researcher)
  • Berkvens, Nick (Former Researcher)
  • Maes, Martine (Former Project Manager)
  • Casteels, Hans (Former Researcher)

    Project Details


    Main research question/goal

    The ILVO expertise on nematodes is being used in this project with the aim of successfully combatting insect pests in agriculture. The aim is to use insect-parasitizing nematodes as an alternative to chemical pesticides (insecticides). These nematodes, called  entomopathogenic nematodes, in short EPN, belong to the genera Steinernema and Heterorhabditis. The key question is: how can this group of nematodes as natural enemy be used efficiently against major under- and above-ground insect pests in Belgium and abroad?

    Research approach
    Through colloaborative projects we are looking for new EPN from all over the world. We identify these new EPN and investigate their control capabilities against relevant pests. In doing so, it is important to determine which environmental conditions and formulations optimize their application. We maintain permanent cultures of several EPN species so as to be able to screen their control potential against emerging pests at all times. An example is ILVO’s pursuit for suitable EPN against the woolly apple aphids in orchards.


    On a worldwide scale, scientific research on  the control capacities of EPN is increasing and the variety of EPN species being deployed is expanding. For this reason, this group of natural enemies is also employed increasingly as an alternative to chemical pesticides against insect pests in the context of IPM (Integrated Pest Management). EPN are the most successful group of biocontrol organisms for below-ground pests. International co-operation ensures the knowledge and application of these natural enemies not only in our country or in Europe, but especially in developing countries, where these organisms can play an important role in controlling pests in various crops.
    Effective start/end date1/01/0831/12/17