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Question: I’ve tried everything and I haven’t been able to control wireworms. What do you recommend I do to control wireworms?

{Sponsored} Wireworms are an annual problem for potato producers in North Carolina and Virginia and can cause heavy damage. Recently, other areas such as Maine, Michigan, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania have seen scattered infestations and damage as well. Wisconsin, Minnesota and the Dakotas as well as the Pacific Northwest can also experience wireworm damage to potatoes in geographic pockets.

The best strategy for controlling wireworms is to plan on applying an at-plant, in-furrow insecticide application. Capture® LFR® insecticide or Ethos® XB insecticide/ fungicide are good options. Be sure the nozzle is placed over the row to get spray evenly distributed in the furrow where seed pieces will be dropped. These in-furrow products are among the few that can also be applied at drag-off or lay-by, but bear in mind, you can only use up to the maximum seasonal use rate of 25.5 fluid ounces per acre. For example, an at-plant, in-furrow Capture LFR insecticide or Ethos XB insecticide/fungicide applied at 12.5 ounces can be followed up with 13 ounces of Capture LFR insecticide applied at drag-off or lay-by.

Ethos XB insecticide/fungicide combines an insecticide that controls wireworms and other soil insects with a biofungicide that defends against soil-borne diseases. The biofungicide forms a protective barrier around roots, and it is the first of its kind. It provides suppression of metalaxyl-resistant pythium, rhizoctonia and phytophthora. Many farmers are really excited about a combination soil insecticide and fungicide.

Several university and Extension researchers have performed potato soil insecticide trials, evaluating wireworm as well as other insect control. Studies have shown Capture LFR insecticide and Ethos XB insecticide/fungicide provide excellent protection of the potato crop, resulting in higher yields and better-quality potatoes.

There are no effective cultural control practices for controlling wireworms ahead of planting potatoes. Wireworm life cycle ranges from 3 to 9 years in soil depending upon species. An adult wireworm is commonly known as a click beetle. Click beetle females are attracted to fields with grass crops such as wheat or pasture and even to grassy soybean and corn fields.

Resistance management is always a concern of potato producers. Development of neonicotinoid insecticide resistance among Colorado Potato Beetle populations is not yet widespread. Where there is not a problem with resistance, there is flexibility to use Capture LFR insecticide or Ethos XB insecticide/fungicide in a tankmix with a neonic applied at planting time to control both wireworms and provide some protection of new potato growth from Colorado Potato Beetles.

Capture LFR insecticide and Ethos XB insecticide/fungicide are Restricted Use Pesticides. Always read and follow all label directions and precautions for use. Some products may not be registered for sale or use in all states. FMC, Capture, LFR and Ethos are trademarks of FMC Corporation or an affiliate.

©2018 FMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 01/18

About the Expert: Joe Reed Ph.D for FMC Spud ScienceJoseph Reed has a Ph.D in entomology from Ohio State University. He has worked in many crops but has a passion for tree fruit and vegetable crops including potatoes. He has worked throughout the country including the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic states, the Midwest, the Dakotas, the PNW and the Mid-South helping growers solve crop pest challenges.

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