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Evaluation of the effectiveness of entomopathogens for the management of wireworms (Coleoptera: Elateridae) on spring wheat

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Wireworms, the larval stage of click beetles (Coleoptera: Elateridae), are serious soil dwelling pests of small grain, corn, sugar beet and potato crops. Limonius californicus (Mannerheim) and Hypnoidus bicolor (Eschscholtz) are the predominant wireworm species infesting wheat in Montana, particularly in the ‘Golden Triangle’ area of north-central Montana. Wireworm populations in field crops are increasing, but currently available insecticides provide only partial control, and no alternative management tools exist. In the current study, three entomopathogenic fungi were tested for efficacy against wireworms in spring wheat at two field locations (Ledger and Conrad, Montana, USA) in 2013. The fungi (Metarhizium brunneum F52, Beauveria bassiana GHA, and Metarhizium robertsii DWR 346) were evaluated in seed coat, in furrow granular and soil drench applications, in addition to imidacloprid (Gaucho®) in seed treatment, which is currently being used by growers. Wireworm damage in various treatments was evaluated as standing plant counts, wireworm population survey, and grain yield production. Three Fungi applied as formulated granules or as soil drenches, and imidacloprid seed treatment resulted in significantly higher plant stand counts and yields at both locations, than fungus-coated seed treatments and the untreated control. Significant difference was detected among the application methods instead of species of the fungi. All three fungi applied as granules in furrow and in soil drench were paramount to seed-coating treatments in wireworm control, and provided an efficacy comparable or superior to imidacloprid. The fungi used in the current study provided significant plant and yield protection under moderate wireworm pressure, indicating their potential utility in the integrate management of this pest.
Gadi V.P. Reddy , Khanobporn Tangtrakulwanich , Shaohui Wu , John H. Miller , Victoria L. Ophus , Julie Prewett , Stefan T. Jaronski
USDA Scientist Submission
Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 2014 7 v.120
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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