On-site regenerative biological control continues to be successful for greenhouse growers
How to rear your own Steinernema feltiae.
The use of Steinernema feltiae as a biological control agent for common greenhouse pests is not new. However, rearing your own is! Steinernema feltia is an entomopathogenic nematode (EPN) used for the management of fungus gnats and shore flies. The nematode kills its host by entering the body through openings and releasing a pathogenic bacterium. The use of S.feltia has been on the rise in the greenhouse industry. Growers are using S. feltiae as a biocontrol agent for western flower thrips. Michigan State University has not preformed formal experiments to determine the effectiveness, but we hope to perform this work in the future.
MSU’s organic pest management laboratory developed a method for rearing S. feltiae. Jeanne Himmelein, MSU Extension educator, tested the method to assess the potential of successful rearing outside a la laboratory environment. In January 2012, Himmelein introduced the concept to interested growers and educated them on the process.
If you are interested in the rearing, the fact sheet Regenerative Biological Control of Greenhouse Pests with Steinernema feltia Nematodes outlines the process, tools needed and troubleshooting tips.