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Wireworms take bite out of winter wheat crop

August/September 2014

By Aaron Esser, David Crowder, and Ivan Milosavljevic

Wireworms continue to be a persistent pest in cereal grain systems in the Pacific Northwest, but unlike previous years when most reports of severe damage were in spring wheat, damage to winter wheat took center stage this season.

The increased damage could be the result of greater farmer awareness, severe growing conditions that limited winter wheat’s ability to outgrow wireworm pressure, inadequate carryover of seed treatments or a combination of all three. Research efforts will begin expanding into winter wheat cropping systems this fall.

Currently, research continues to focus on controlling wireworms with seed-applied insecticides in spring cereal grain systems. This spring, we examined 46 different seed-applied insecticide treatments at two locations. These treatments are either new products being examined for efficacy or reformulations of current products. A second study was also established examining the tolerance of wheat, barley and oats to wireworms with or without seed-applied neonicotinoid insecticides. Preliminary results show that barley and oats are more tolerant of wireworms than wheat, and thus, a better fit under heavy infestations.

Read more in Wheatlife.

Washington State University