The Olive Fruit Fly, Bactrocera Oleae
The interest in the use of entomopathogenic nematodes as biological pest control agents has increased exponentially over the past decades. A hundred different laboratories explore these nematodes and their bacterial symbionts in more than 60 countries from every inhabited continent. Despite research breadth that extends from molecular biology to field ecology, the discipline is unified by common interest in biological control. Thirty years ago, the idea of using nematodes to control pest populations was vague promise held by the handful of researchers working with these obscure insect parasites. Today, they are no longer a laboratory curiosity but have begun to gain acceptance as environmentally benign alternatives to chemical insecticides. The entomopathogenic nematodes have proven particularly successful and are now commercially mass-produced in six of the seven continents to treat pest problems in agriculture, horticulture and human husbandry. The ease of mass production and exemption from registration requirenments are the two major reasons for early interest in the commercial developments of entomopathogenic nematodes. However, demonstrations of practical use, particularly in Europe and North America and subsuquently in Japan, China and Australia, spurred developments across the world that have led to the availability of nematodes against pests that were once thought impossible to control.