|Department of Entomology
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
93 Lipman Drive
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8524
White grubs are the most serious insect pests affecting turfgrass. Entomopathogenic nematodes are insect pathogens that, working with their bacterial symbionts, can provide effective grub suppression but efficacy is unpredictable. We appear unable to exploit nematodes against grubs effectively because we have a poor understanding of the factors regulating parasitism. Our laboratory conducts basic and applied research aimed at enhancing the use of nematodes for turf protection by resolving the infection process, including search behavior and host defensive mechanisms used to avoid parasitism. Additional approaches include genetic engineering of nematodes for enhanced environmental tolerance and developing mass rearing technology.