Three commercially available entomopathogenic nematode (EPN) strains (Steinernema feltiae and Heterorhabditis bacteriophora Hb1 and Hb2) and two local species (S.
jeffreyense and S. yirgalemense) were evaluated for the control of the codling moth (Cydia pomonella). In field spray trials, the use of S. jeffreyense resulted in the most effective control (67%), followed by H. bacteriophora (Hb1) (42%) and S. yirgalemense (41%). Laboratory bioassays using spray application in simulated field conditions indicate S. feltiae to be the most virulent (67%), followed by S. yirgalemense (58%). A laboratory comparison of the infection and penetration rate of the different strains showed that, at 14°C, all EPN strains resulted in slower codling moth mortality than they did at 25°C. After 48 h, < 15% mortality was recorded for all species, whereas, at the warmer temperature, >98% mortality was recorded for all species involved. However, the washed codling moth larvae, cool-treated (at 14°C) with S. feltiae or S. yirgalemense, resulted in 100% mortality 24 h later at room temperature, whereas codling moth larvae treated with the two H. bacteriophora strains resulted in 68% and 54% control, respectively. At 14°C, S. feltiae had the highest average penetration rate of 20 IJs/larva, followed by S. yirgalemense, with 14 IJs/larva. At 25°C, S. yirgalemense had the highest penetration rate, with 39 IJs/larva, followed by S. feltiae, with 9 IJs/larva. This study highlights the biocontrol potential of S. jeffreyense, as well as confirming that S. feltiae is a cold-active nematode, whereas the other three EPN isolates tested prefer warmer temperatures.