Field Insights

Help Stop Wireworms from Causing Wheat Yield Losses

Wireworms can cause a crop loss of 5-25% making it vital to manage to protect your crop.

One of the biggest challenges you’ll likely continue to face in cereal crops this season is pest management. Overwintering insect pests like wireworms can wreak havoc on cereal and pulse crops’ seeds and seedlings. According to Washington State University, when wireworms are not controlled, they can lead to increased weed pressure and reduced stands, yields, and profit potential.

Cool, wet climates, like those common to the Pacific Northwest and Northern Plains, along with low or no-tillage practices can create an environment where wireworms thrive. Wireworm larvae can live in the soil for two to five years and feed on germinating seeds and seedlings before developing into adult click beetles. A single female can lay between 50 and 350 eggs at a time before emerging from the soil and flying to nearby fields to repeat the process.

Wireworms are attracted to CO2 that is produced when seeds begin to germinate and grow. The pest can then damage seeds and roots, which has a ripple effect of poor and uneven plant stand loss, stunted growth, wilted leaves and, at the most extreme, plant death. Wireworms can cause a crop loss of 5-25%, making it vital to manage this pest to protect your crop and bottom line.

To manage wireworms, routinely scout your fields so you’re aware of the level of pest pressure. Once you identify an area you believe has wireworms, you can try using bait traps which release CO2 into the soil, similar to germinating seeds, and will attract the wireworms.

For protection against wireworms, a new insecticide seed treatment will be coming soon. Featuring active ingredient isocycloseram, an Insecticide Resistance Action Committee (IRAC) Group 30, this new seed treatment will act by contact and ingestion and has no known cross resistance to other insecticides. Once available, isocycloseram will protect cereals and pulses from wireworm pressure to help support crop emergence and plant establishment.

Are you interested in learning more about isocylocersam once it is available for use? Sign up to be one of the first to learn more.

All photos are either the property of Syngenta or are used with permission.

Isocycloseram is not yet registered for sale or use in the U.S. and is not being offered for sale.