Wireworm damage to wheat seedlings: effect of temperature and wireworm state.

van Herk, W.G. and Vernon, R.S. (2013). "Wireworm damage to wheat seedlings: effect of temperature and wireworm state.", Journal of Pest Science, 86(1), pp. 63-75. doi : 10.1007/s10340-012-0461-y  Access to full text

Abstract

We describe the results of four laboratory studies designed to measure the effect of temperature and wireworm appetence, weight, and degree of Metarhizium infection on their ability to damage wheat seedlings. Wireworm activity, measured from wireworm speed, increased linearly from 6 to 18 °C and leveled off thereafter. Plant emergence and growth increased exponentially from 6 to 22 °C for wheat cultivars AC Barrie and AC Unity VB. Plant root:shoot ratio at Zadoks 13 was highest at 14 °C and lowest at 22 °C for AC Barrie. Wireworm weight and degree of infection with Metarhizium did not affect their ability to kill wheat seedlings, but wireworms in a feeding state caused significantly more damage than those in a non-feeding state when wheat was grown at 10, 14, 18, and 22 °C. Wireworms (ww) in a feeding state destroyed 1.8 seedlings/ww in 14 days at 22 °C if there were 1 or 2 wireworms in a pot, and 1.5 seedlings/ww if there were 4 wireworms in a pot. If 5 wireworms were placed in a pot, wireworms in a feeding state destroyed 0.3, 1.0, 0.9, 1.3, and 1.4 seedlings/ww in 46, 32, 25, 25, and 25 days at 6, 10, 14, 18, and 22 °C, respectively. Wireworm mortality from Metarhizium during 60 days of containment in pots in the study was higher in non-feeding than in feeding wireworms, and higher if wireworms were selected from a Metarhizium-infected colony than those selected from a non-infected colony. Some of the implications of these results for wireworm management and laboratory trials are discussed.

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