Exploring the potential of entomopathogenic nematodes against wireworms in Montana
Sandhi, Ramandeep Kaur
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Wireworms (Coleoptera: Elateridae), are important soil-dwelling pests and have become a serious threat to spring wheat in the Northern Great Plains because of lack of effective control measures, creating a need for alternative control methods such as biological control with entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs). Ten EPN strains were tested against sugarbeet wireworm, Limonius californicus (Mannerheim) in laboratory bioassay. Out of these ten strains, Steinernema carpocapsae (Weiser) (All and Cxrd strains) and S. riobrave Cabanillas, Poinar, and Raulston (355 and 7-12 strains) were found effective in laboratory and shade house. However, the dose required to kill at least 50% of the treated L. californicus larvae was 200 infective juveniles/cm 2. Two Montana native EPN species (S. feltiae and Heterorhabditis bacteriophora) were extracted and were evaluated against L. californicus in laboratory and shade house. Although, 50% mortality was observed due to S. feltiae isolates in laboratory conditions, none of the two isolates of S. feltiae performed well against L. californicus in shade house. Steinernema carpocapsae and S. riobrave in the form of infected Galleria mellonella L. cadavers were evaluated against wireworms (L. californicus and H. bicolor) in field and greenhouse. In field, none of the four EPN strains were found effective in reducing wireworm populations or protecting crop yield in both spring wheat and barley fields. However, only one infected Galleria cadaver of S. carpocapsae (All and Cxrd) and S. riobrave 355 was able to kill wireworm larvae as well as reduce wheat plant damage in greenhouse. The imidacloprid treatment enhanced the infection and killing ability of EPNs against L. californicus. Steinernema carpocapsae All and Cxrd were able to kill 30-46% of L. californicus larvae in all four soil types tested as compared to S. riobrave 355 and 7-12 strains, when maintained at field capacity moisture levels. However, S. carpocapsae All and Cxrd strains were able to infect 35-50% wireworm larvae in sandy loam and clay loam soil type at standardized moisture (18%). Steinernema carpocapsae All and Cxrd killed greater wireworm numbers at 16% moisture level and 25 °C as compared to other moisture and temperature levels in sandy clay loam soil. These results indicate that EPN based strategies could be useful for wireworm management but need to be explored further under field conditions. This strategy can at least be part of a large Integrated Pest Management system for wireworm control in Montana.