Arthropod-Plant Interactions

, Volume 11, Issue 6, pp 755–766 | Cite as

Evaluation of trap crops for the management of wireworms in spring wheat in Montana

Original Paper


The polyphagous larvae of click beetles (Coleoptera: Elateridae) are major pests of spring wheat in Montana, USA. Presently available insecticides are unable to provide control over wireworm populations, and the use of natural enemies has not been successful under field conditions. In this study, we examined the effect of seven trap crops: pea, lentil, canola, corn, durum, barley, and wheat, for their attractiveness to wireworms compared to spring wheat. Experimental plots were located in two commercial grain fields in Valier and Ledger, Montana, USA and the trials took place from May to August in 2015 and 2016. Wheat plants damaged by wireworms were recorded and their relative locations in wheat rows and adjacent trap crop rows within a plot were determined using destructive soil samples. In 2016, variable row spacing (0.25, 0.5, 0.75, and 1 m) between the trap crops (pea and lentil) and wheat was assessed. Shade house bioassays were conducted using potted pea, lentil, and wheat plants to support field trial results. Limonius californicus larvae, released at the center of each pot were sampled 4 and 10 days after sowing. Wheat intercropped with pea and lentil had significantly fewer damaged wheat plants. Wireworm numbers were lower in wheat intercropped with pea compared to the control for both locations and years. Shade house results corresponded with field results, with more wireworms collected from pea and lentil than wheat. In the spacing trials, wheat plant counts were also significantly higher when paired with pea and lentil, particularly at 0.5 m spacing. Regardless of inter-row spacing, significantly fewer wireworms were associated with wheat when intercropped with pea and lentil trap crops.


Wireworm Limonius californicus Hypnoidus bicolor Intercropping Spacing Crop damage 



This project is supported by the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee. This material is based upon work supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Hatch under award Accn# 1009746. We would like to thank Dr. Bob Vernon, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Dr. Kevin Wanner and Dr. Mike Ivie from Montana State University, Bozeman for their valuable suggestions, and summer interns Javan Caroll and Gaby Drishinski for their assistance in the field.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Research Centers, Western Triangle Ag Research CenterMontana State University-BozemanConradUSA

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