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Stop Wireworms and Pea Leaf Weevil at Planting

August 27, 2020

Wireworms and pea leaf weevils threaten pulse crop seedlings by reducing yield potential and damaging crop quality.

Overwintering insects, such as wireworm and pea leaf weevil, are poised to pounce on pulse crops during planting. These soilborne pests dig into the ground, making their presence difficult to detect until after crop damage appears. Researchers recommend seed treatments as the first step to optimizing yield opportunities in dry beans and dry peas. Insecticide seed treatments, research shows, offer the early intervention that’s needed to keep wireworms and pea weevils from feeding on germinating seeds.

Wireworms live in soil for up to 5 years, feeding on germinating seed and seedlings as larvae before they develop into adult click beetles. By the time the yellow, brown-orange click beetles emerge from the soil, pulse crops already face damaged root systems, stunted growth and reduced yield potential.

Best practice for wireworm is to use bait traps to monitor fields for infestations. The economic treatment threshold is an average of 1 to 2 larvae per bait station prior to planting.

Pea leaf weevils are another threat to pulse crop yields, with both larvae and adults thriving in cool, wet conditions. Larvae are small, white worms with brown heads that feed on seedling roots and threaten root growth, and adult pea leaf weevils are a gray-brown color with 3 lengthwise stripes across the body. Fully grown weevils create half-circle shaped notches on leaves, damaging leaves and threatening overall crop health.

With pea leaf weevils expanding their geography from Canada to the Northern Plains, this insect is a threat to the seedlings it feeds on when moving from perennial hosts to crop hosts. To reduce notching and protect yield, control pea leaf weevil with seed treatments that include neonicotinoid insecticides.

This graph compares in-field seed treatment protections

CruiserMaxx® Vibrance® Pulses protects dry beans and dry peas against insect pests more effectively than competitors.

With adaptability to the cold increasing likelihood that these pests will be present at planting, a seed treatment with a strong insecticide component is an important line of defense. CruiserMaxx Vibrance Pulses seed treatment starts with a proven insecticide to control early-season insects, such as wireworms and pea leaf weevil, and adds 4 fungicides to help stop diseases, including Ascochyta blight, Pythium and Rhizoctonia. With broad-spectrum disease control and early season pest protection in 1 formulation, growers can mitigate multiple damaging factors with 1 product.

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