Entomopathogenic nematodes are biological control agents of arthropod pests that can be multiplied by in vivo and in vitro methods. They are effective when well marched with host arthropods but the major drawback to their wide use is their availability on demand. The in vivo method is appropriate for a cottage industry and the in vitro method for massive production. The objective of the study was to determine the suitability of the silkworm (Bombyx mori) as an alternative host to the greater wax moth (Galleria mellonella) for multiplication of entomopathogenic nematodes. This study demonstrated that a dose of 100 infective juveniles per the fifth instar silkworm (Bombyx mori) can yield over 60,000 Heterorhabditis indica infective juveniles, 40,000 Steinernema karii juveniles and 15,000 Steinernema yirgalemense juveniles at 20-250C and at a relative humidity of 60% in seven days. The results compared well with yields of 50,000 H. indica, 45,000 S. karii and 80,000 of S. yirgalemense from Galleria mellonella (the greater wax moth) which is the conventionally used insect host for in vivo multiplication of entomopathogenic nematodes. The results indicate that for optimum yields of entomopathogenic nematodes, there is need to match the host with the nematode species.

African Dryland Institute for Sustainability , University of Nairobi