Agronomic and biological aspects of wireworm biocontrol
Abstract: Two studies involving Metarhizium brunneum-based wireworm (Agriotes obscurus) control are presented. In the first study, M. brunneum-based control treatments were characterized for i) their efficacy in protecting potato from wireworm damage, showing a significant increase in crop protection compared to an untreated control; and ii) their carbon dioxide production and associated attraction of wireworms 15 days after planting. Increasing levels of carbon dioxide production from the treatments was linearly related to the number of wireworms attracted. In the second study, natural field soil containing 104 M. brunneum conidia/g reduced click beetle fecundity equal to that of sterilized field soil augmented with an equal level of M. brunneum conidia. Biological and agronomic aspects of these results are discussed for consideration in improving wireworm biocontrol and crop protection.