In Canada, as in much of the northern hemisphere, insecticidal seed treatments for cereals that both protect crops from damage by wireworms (Coleoptera: Elateridae) and actually reduce wireworm populations to sub-economic levels are lacking. Thiamethoxam and fipronil applied alone or in combination as wheat seed treatments were evaluated in field studies between 2006 and 2008 in protecting wheat from damage and reducing populations of resident and neonate wireworms. Thiamethoxam alone applied at 5 or 10 g a.i./100 kg seed provided adequate wheat stand and yield protection, but did not significantly reduce Agriotes obscurus wireworm populations. Fipronil alone at 5–50 g a.i./100 kg seed provided adequate wheat stand and yield protection, and also killed significant numbers of both resident and neonate wireworms. Thiamethoxam (10 g a.i.) was initially combined with fipronil at 50, 5, 0.5, 0.05, and 0.005 g a.i./100 kg seed, and subsequently with a delimiting range of fipronil at 50, 5, 1, 0.5, and 0.1 g a.i. Blends of thiamethoxam (10 g a.i.) + fipronil at rates of 50, 5, or 1 g a.i. provided stand and yield as good or better than the former industry standard Vitavax Dual (containing lindane). Combinations of thiamethoxam (10 g a.i.) + fipronil at rates of 50, 5, 1, and 0.5 g a.i. had very low numbers of resident or neonate wireworms relative to the untreated check and were comparable to the Vitavax Dual standard. The benefit of combined thiamethoxam + fipronil seed treatments at these rates, is that crop stand and yield are improved over the individual chemicals applied alone, and resident and neonate wireworm mortality is high. The large reductions in resident and neonate wireworms observed with these combined seed treatments would remove the economic threat of wireworms in fields for 3+ years with rates of insecticides much lower than the formerly used Vitavax Dual.
Wireworms Wheat Seed treatments Neonicotinoids Fipronil Pest control