Sampling for wireworms (Coleoptera: Elateridae) at sugarcane planting


Abstract: Wireworms in Florida are primarily a pest in newly planted sugarcane where thelarvae attack the underground portions of the plant by feeding on the buds and root primordiaduring germination and on shoots and roots after germination. Florida sugarcane growers usuallyapply a soil insecticide at planting to protect germinating seedpieces from wireworm damage.However, studies have suggested that this application in many cases may not be necessary. Theobjective of our research was to determine if a quick and easy sampling method could be used byFlorida sugarcane growers to determine the need for soil insecticide at planting. Testing wasconducted on fields located on King Ranch near South Bay, Florida. Wireworm samples weretaken in a transect across the length of each field. Sugarcane yield parameters for each wholefield were obtained through standard commercial harvesting procedures. Using our samplingmethod to determine the necessity of soil insecticide application, yield data showed that therewas no significant difference in gross tons of sugarcane per ha, % sucrose, or tons of sugar per hain fields with versus without insecticide application.

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