Quantitative methods were developed for the study of the early stages in the interaction of Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus and host bacteria. Attachment measurements were based on the differential filtration of host and parasite. Invasion was measured by estimation of radioactively labeled Bdellovibrio cells remaining attached to the host cells after mechanical agitation. The kinetics of attachment and the final number of Bdellovibrio cells attached were dependent on the multiplicity of the parasite, the composition and pH of the medium, and the incubation temperature. Inhibitors of Bdellovibrio motility, including chelating agents, NaN(3), and low pH, all inhibited attachment, as did anaerobiosis. Ultraviolet-killed host cells retained their competence for attachment of Bdellovibrio cells, whereas heat-killed cells lost it. Invasion was selectively inhibited by inhibitors of protein synthesis, such as streptomycin, puromycin, and chloramphenicol. These antibiotics had no effect on attachment.