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Improved monitoring and control of wireworms (Coleoptera: Elateridae) in Norwegian potato production

Finished Last updated: 31.12.2022
End: dec 2022
Start: mar 2019

Wireworms are soil-dwelling larvae of click beetles, of which some are important pests of crops like potatoes, cereals and root crops. In potato tubers and root crops, the larvae reduce yield and quality by making holes, tunnels or surface wounds and scars. Until the 1990s, wireworm control relied mainly on the use of synthetic insecticides. Most of these are now banned, mainly due to environmental and health issues. In Norway, damage from wireworms has so far been a minor problem, but are now increasing at an alarming rate. However, updated knowledge of which wireworm species that are most damaging in Norwegian potato production, their life-cycles and host preferences, are lacking. At present, direct and effective pest control tools are missing, and alternative methods to reduce the wireworm populations are needed.

Status Concluded
Start - end date 01.03.2019 - 31.12.2022
Project manager Annette Folkedal Schjøll
Total budget 7000000

On this background, our main objective is to present a robust integrated pest management system (IPM) for monitoring and control of wireworms in potatoes. To reach this goal we will use traps and pheromones to attract, collect and identify click beetles and wireworms from growers' fields, to learn which wireworm species that are most important, where they are most abundant, and how they develope. In field trials, we will test if the resistance to wireworms differ between commonly used cultivars, so that the least susceptible could be used in IPM. As potatoes usually are grown in a rotation system with other crops like grasses, cereals and root crops, we will also study how this may influence the potential damage in a given season. Finally, a promising method for direct biological control, by combining an attractant (odour) and a killing component (pathogenic fungal isolates), will be tested in field experiments at different growers' locations. The knowledge and methods developed from each of these project activities, will be integrated in an IPM system, and contribute to reduce the risk of wireworm damage in the growers fields.

Publications in the project