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New Pest Management Practices for the Control of Wireworm (Video)

The potato is the largest vegetable crop in Canada. We produce almost 5 million tonnes of potatoes every year. Consumers around the world love our potatoes. And so do pests like wireworms, the larva of the click beetle. Wireworms cost farmers an estimated 6 million dollars annually in pest management measures and crop losses. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada scientists from across the country have been working hard to provide farmers with a natural method to control wireworm infestations and reduce crop losses.

Learn more about natural wireworm control in this video.

Contribution to the research by the Pest Management Centre.

Video Transcript

[An image and a maple leaf appear on screen. This is the title graphic for the video.]

[Light, acoustic music fades in.]

Text on screen: New Pest Management Practices for the Control of Wireworm

[The video opens with a panning image of a tractor in a potato farm.]

[Cut to close up of potato farmers riding tractor.]

Narrator: Wireworms have become a major pest for Canadian farmers.

[Close up of wireworms in soil.]

They're the larva of the click beetle.

[Cut to high angle shot of a wireworm being dropped into the bottom of a plant pot.]

At the larva stage they live in the soil and eat the roots of plants.

[Cut to medium close up of rollers.]

Wireworms affect a wide variety of crops…

[Cut to medium close up of farmer in tractor.]

…such as root vegetables and grains.

[Cut to very wide shot of tractor in grain field.]

[Cut to close up of potatoes.]

However potatoes are the most affected.

[Close up of sliced open potato close up with wireworms on it.]

[Medium shot of wireworms on potato.]

In Prince Edward Island alone the potato board estimates…

[Close up of potatoes being processed.]

[Close up of processors picking through potatoes on a conveyor belt.]

…it costs farmers 6 million dollars a year in pest management measures and crop losses.

[Cut to wide shot of potato farmer working with cultivated soil.]

[Close up of farmer placing rocks in soil.]

Traditionally, organochloride and organophosphate insecticides have been used to control wireworms.

[Cut to close up of potato shavings on scale.]

In Canada many of these broad spectrum products…

[Cut to wide shot of scientist in greenhouse.]

[Close up of scientist dissecting a flower.]

…are no longer available…

[Cut to very wide shot of potato harvester and farmer in field.]

…or are being phased out.

[Close up of potato harvester.]

With limited insecticide control available…

[Cut to wide shot of farmers riding tractor inspecting potatoes.]

…the wireworm population is growing and spreading.

[Cut to tilting close up of Dr. Christine Noronha inspecting potatoes in milk crate.]

Thanks to some pioneering research by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada scientist Christine Noronha there is positive news.

[Cut to oncoming wide shot of tractor in field.]

She's working with Prince Edward Island potato farmers…

[Panning close up of potatoes.]

[Cut to wide shot of two tractors in mustard field.]

…using brown mustard as a rotational crop to fight the pest.

[Medium close up of Dr. Christine Noronha discussing pest management in her lab.]

Text on screen: Dr. Christine Noronha, Research Scientist, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Dr. Christine Noronha: It has a specific glucosinolate in its roots which is actually toxic to insects when they chew on it.

[Cut to very wide shot of mustard field.]

Narrator: With mustard, the infestations of wireworm…

[Close up of mustard crops.]

…have been reduced to manageable levels but not eradicated.

[Cut to very wide shot of tractor and farmer on cultivated soil.]

Noronha is now exploring buckwheat…

[Close up of buckwheat crop.]

…grown at a crop rotation with mustard…

[Cut to wide shot of farmers in potato farm.]

[Medium shot of farmer tending to potato farm.]

… and potatoes as a control for wireworms.

[Close up of farmer splitting potato to show lack of pest interference.]

Participating farms have seen further and significant reduction…

[Cut to medium close up of Dr. Noronha examining potatoes in a milk crate.]

…of wireworm population.

[Cut back to medium close up of Dr. Christine Noronha discussing pest management in her lab.]

Dr. Christine Noronha: It is a green solution it doesn't use insecticides so you are doing it in a sustainable way.

[Cut to tilting close up of buckwheat seeds in petri dish.]

Narrator: Chemists are checking physical properties of buckwheat…

[Cut to very wide shot field of buckwheat.]

[Close up of buckwheat crop.]

…hydrologists will check on how growing buckwheat benefits the water table…

[Cut to tilt shot of Dr. Noronha examining a specimen through a microscope in her lab.]

…nutrient management experts will examine buckwheats' ability to soak up excess nutrients in the soil…

[Cut to wireworms on top of soil.]

[Extreme close up of wireworms on potato.]

…and an engineer will study soil properties.

[Cut to wide shot of Dr. Noronha walking with an assistant in her lab.]

The research by Noronha is part of a 1.8 million…

[Cut to wide shot of potato farmers loading crates on a tractor.]

…dollar project involving 17…

[Wide side angle shot of tractor moving across potato field.]

…scientists at Agriculture and Agri-food Canada research centers…

[Extreme close up of a potato sample being collected by a researcher.]

…across the country.

[Cut to wide shot of Dr. Noronha and assistant examining potatoes in milk crates.]

The research is a great example…

[Cut to wide shot of researcher in lab walking towards camera holding test tubes.]

…of how agricultural science…

[Over the shoulder shot of researcher holding a potato and weighing potato shavings.]

…has evolved…

[Close up of researcher collecting plant samples.]

… in recent decades…

[Cut to wide shot of farmer working soil.]

…to become much more multidisciplinary…

[Close up of mustard crops with tractor emerging from left side across the screen.]

…and protective of the environment.

[Fade to white.]

[Fade up from white.]

Text on screen: Modern. Innovative. Growing. Discover other agricultural innovations at

[Light, acoustic music fades out.]

Text on screen: Canada, © Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (2016).

[Fade to black.]

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