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Keywords:

  • Agriotes;
  • biology;
  • control;
  • potato;
  • wireworms

Summary

1 This paper reviews and interprets relevant work on the biology and management of wireworms (Agriotes spp.) within the context of potato production in Europe, with particular reference to the U.K. Although the review concentrates on Agriotes spp., the extensive world literature on other Elateridae of economic importance is also drawn upon.

2 Possible reasons for the apparent increase in the importance of wireworms on the potato crop are discussed, followed by a review of wireworm biology, risk assessment techniques (soil sampling, bait trapping and adult pheromone trapping), crop damage, and cultural, biological and chemical control methods.

3 It is clear that the process of site risk assessment followed by appropriate control measures (usually insecticide use) will remain the mainstay of wireworm management programmes. However, there is considerable scope for adopting new risk assessment techniques, such as pheromone trapping of adult beetles.

4 These control measures will need to be underpinned by a greater understanding of wireworm biology, particularly adult dispersal. Factors affecting the initiation and maintenance of wireworm populations in individual fields also require further study. The current use of insecticides could also be optimized by a better appreciation of the interactions between insecticide use, potato variety choice and harvest dates.