Wireworms are soil-dwelling larvae of several beetle species of the genus Agriotes. Their feeding activity on potato tubers can lead to significant local harvest losses. Because of their underground way of life and long life cycle, however, they can only be controlled with difficulty. In a joint research project, Agroscope and HAFL are exploring new solutions for the chemical control of wireworms. Chief among these are various methods for luring pests by means of bait and the management of previous crops or intercrops (‘attract-and-kill’).
Biological control of wireworms with entomopathogenic fungi
Entomopathogenic fungi are the most important natural antagonists of wireworms. Ideally adapted to life in the soil, they have a specific effect against certain insects, and are easy to produce on an industrial scale. Giselher Grabenweger of the ‘Ecology of Harmful and Beneficial Organisms’ Research Group is investigating new production and application methods for these fungi. The aim of the research is to develop a method for the biological control of wireworms in potato production.