Cultivation/Production, Pests and Diseases

Canada: ‘Attract and kill’ technique controls wireworms in potatoes

Wireworms are small but they cause big problems for potato farmers across the country. In 2014 wireworms cost P.E.I. potato growers around $6 million. (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada photo)Wireworm damage cost Price Edward Island potato growers in Canada around $6 million in 2014. Decades ago the click beetle larvae were successfully controlled with chlorinated hydrocarbon insecticides. Those agents were banned in the 1970s and 1980s because of their toxicity to animals and their tendency to build up in the soil. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) has developed a new “attract and kill” method to decimate wireworm populations and limit crop destruction. Dr. Bob Vernon, an AAFC research scientist, and his team at the Agassiz Research and Development Centre in British Columbia created the sustainable and cost-effective solution. The “attract and kill” technique uses tiny amounts of insecticide and can be implemented at low cost with minor modifications to planting equipment. More

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