The insect parasitoid nematodes are a means boon to agronomy and serve as important bio-pesticides for controlling crop damaging insect pests. These nematodes inhabit moist soils and have been to exist in all the continents excluding Polar Regions. These nematodes have 3rd larval stage infective which is the only free living stage existing outside the host. These infective stages are mutually associated with bacteria which reside in their alimentary canal and duo are responsible for mortality of the insect host. These nematodes are currently given great attention by scientific community because of their insect killing properties and can be used to replace hazardous pesticides. These nematodes include various species belonging to genus Heterorhabditis and Steinernema, and members of insectivorous group of genus Oscheius. Before their use as bio-control agents, these nematodes need to be properly identified. Currently, these nematodes are characterized by using morphological and morphometrical parameters and advanced molecular tools including cross hybridization and scanning electron microscope studies. Their associated bacterial partners are studied through advanced molecular and biochemical techniques. The properly characterized nematodes having more entomopathogenic properties can be easily mass produced through in vitro and in vivo methods. They can be formulated in various carrier materials and supplied to farmers for effective control of damaging insect pests. Several countries have formulated various useful products of entomopathogenic nematodes which are available in markets for use by the farmer community and some have given very effective results. India is still at the early stage in the use of these nematodes for bio-control of insects in agronomy. More research in this field needs to be carried, especially in India to produce effective indigenous nematode products which may prove a boon for agriculture.
Part of the book: Nematodes