Wireworm insecticide evaluation

Wireworms are a sporadic problem for farmers planting corn in Iowa, but the problem does appear to be on the increase. Stand loss occurs in a very small percentage of Iowa fields, but where the problem does exist, it may persist for several years. The exact cause of this increase in wireworm problems is not known, but the relatively mild winters of 1997-2000 may be partly responsible for higher than normal survival.

Wireworms cannot be controlled with crop rotation. Most species have life cycles ranging from 3 to 5 years (although some species have a 1-year cycle), and although they seem to prefer corn roots, apparently they can persist in soybean fields by feeding on organic matter from the previous crop. Prevention of stand loss from wireworms can only be accomplished with the use of an insecticide.

Wireworm and damage to a corn seed.

Selecting the best wireworm insecticide based on performance has not been easy, primarily because less information is available compared with a pest such as corn rootworm. Insecticide data from multiyear evaluations in Iowa and Missouri were presented in the March 20, 2000, ICM newsletter (pages 19 and 28). Since that time, new products have been labeled for wireworm control and their performance was evaluated in Iowa during 2000 (Table 1).

No statistical differences were found for the percentage of damaged plants. Although there is a broad range in the percentage of damaged plants from a low of 9 percent (Counter 20CR, 1.2 ounces in-furrow) to a high of 43 percent (Regent 4SC, 0.09 ounces), we were not able to detect any real treatment differences. Likewise, there was no statistical difference in plant stand per acre even though the numbers ranged from a low of 24,000 (Kernel Guard Supreme) to a high of 30,800 (Force 3G, T-band). Variation from plot to plot within the experiment made detecting real treatment differences (from a statistical standpoint) impossible for both the damage ratings and plant stand counts. Based on this single-year experiment, all the products performed the same, although others may interpret these data differently.

It is important to remember that seed treatments are usually less effective for control of high populations of wireworms than granular and liquid insecticides and they provide very little root protection against corn rootworms or cutworms. Affordable protection of seed and seedlings is a foundation for maximum yields and profit.

Table 1. Average percentage of wireworm damaged seeds/seedlings for planting-time insecticide treatments (Numa, IA, 2000).

Insecticide Formulation Ratea Placementb % Damagec,d Stand

Counter 20CR 1.2 Furrow 9 a 29.3
Counter 20CR 1.2 T-band 12 a 29.8
Counter 20CR 0.6 Furrow 13 a 27.3
Fortress 5G 0.15 Furrow SB 14 a 29.8
Agrox Premiere ST 3.6 oz mat/cwt ST 16 a 26.8
Lorsban 15G 1.2 Furrow 16 a 26.5
Lindane ST 40 a.i./100 kg ST 16 a 27.8
Force 3G 0.15 Furrow 17 a 29.3
Capture 2EC 0.037 Furrow 18 a 27.5
Capture 2EC 0.074 Furrow 23 ab 28.5
Aztec 2.1G 0.07 Furrow 25 ab 28.5
Kernel Guard Supreme ST 54.8 g a.i./100 kg ST 26 ab 24.0
ProShield ST 0.075 ST 27 ab 27.3
Force 3G 0.15 T-band 27 ab 30.8
Aztec 2.1G 0.14 Furrow 28 ab 26.3
Gaucho ST 0.16 mg ST 29 ab 29.3
Isotox ST 4.0 oz mat/cwt ST 30 ab 27.0
Adage ST 50 g a.i./100 kg ST 31 ab 29.0
H101:14-1 ST -- ST 33 ab 28.0
Raze ST 3.0 fl oz mat/cwt ST 38 ab 25.3
Regent (4 GPA)g 4SC 0.12 Furrow-M 39 ab 27.0
Pounce 1.5G 0.18 Furrow 43 ab 27.8
Regent (4 GPA)g 4SC 0.09 Furrow-M 44 ab 26.5
Check -- -- -- 72 b 27.6

Planted May 22, 2000; evaluated June 19, 2000.

aGranular and liquid formulations plus ProShield ST expressed as ounces a.i. per 1,000 row-ft; Gaucho ST listed as a.i. per seed. mat/cwt, material/hundredweight.

bST, seed treatment; M, microtube; SB, SmartBox.

cInsecticide means based on four observations (seeds/seedlings damaged in 1-m sample/treatment with four replications); check means based on eight observations (1-m sample/treatment ¥ two random checks ¥ four replications).

dMeans sharing a common letter do not differ significantly according to Ryan's Q test (P < 0.05).

eInsecticide means based on four observations (1/1000-acre sample/treatment ¥ four replications); check means based on eight observations (1/1000-acre sample/treatment ¥ two random check rows ¥ four replications).

fNo significant differences between means (ANOVA, P < 0.05).

gFour gallons of water carrier per 17,424 row-ft.

This article originally appeared on pages 42-43 of the IC-486 (5) -- April 16, 2001 issue.

Updated 04/15/2001 - 1:00pm