The UK potato industry is grappling with an intensifying menace from wireworms as a perfect storm of risk factors create optimum conditions for the soil-dwelling pest to thrive, as Emma Gillbard reports in a news story for Farmers Weekly. A combination of conducive risk factors has set the stage for these soil-based pests to thrive.
As the situation becomes increasingly dire, agricultural experts are calling on potato growers to undertake a comprehensive assessment of wireworm threats this autumn. This involves detecting the presence of detrimental species and subsequently tailoring their cultivation strategies to address the challenge.
Wireworms are identified as the larvae of click beetles. Among them, three species, namely A lineatus, A obscurus, and A sputator, have emerged as the primary culprits wreaking havoc on UK farms.
Dr Ben Clunie, entomology lecturer at Harper Adams University, explains the pest’s life-cycle and delves into new control methods that could potentially be on the horizon, including novel entopathogenic fungi-based granules, with some now being used in areas of Europe.