Evaluation of the Risks Associated with Wireworm to Soybean Production

Crop Soybean
Start Date2018
End Date2021
Principal InvestigatorCassone, Bryan, Brandon University
Total Project Funding$153,265
ReportCassone – Wireworm – MPSG Extension MAR 2019

Research Objectives

  1. Surveillance of Wireworm in Manitoba Fields at Different Planting Stages. We will carry out relative (bait trapping) and absolute (soil coring) sampling of wireworm in 15 Manitoban fields (seed treated and untreated) over a three-year period. Sampling will be done three times per season, which will allow us to estimate the number of wireworms present in a field before, during and after the soybeans are planted.
  2. Molecular Diagnostics to Infer Wireworm Species Diversity. We will use DNA barcoding to accurately delineate wireworm species composition, assess genetic diversity and unravel cryptic forms found in Manitoba fields.
  3. Development of a Laboratory Model Simulating Wireworm Feeding Damage in the Field. We will use field collected wireworm to evaluate the damage incurred to soybean seed and seedlings under a variety of different conditions. The model will be validated by comparing the laboratory study findings to the outcomes in Objective 1.

Project Description

Following the government-issued ban of the pesticide lindane, wireworm (i.e., the larval stages of click beetles) have become major pests of economically important field crops in the Canadian Prairies, including soybean. Wireworm feed on seed and below-ground tissues during the early stages of plant growth, which can result in considerable yield losses. Our overall objective of the proposed research is to evaluate the threat wireworms pose to present and future soybean production.
By the end of the three-year proposal, our research will better infer the true risks posed by wireworm to Manitoba soybean production, as well as the biotic, ecological and agronomic factors that are the greatest contributors to these risks. This information will be critical to the development of a scouting protocol and economic threshold, allowing farmers and agronomists to make decisions on management options.