Taking an environmentally sensitive approach to pest management


Integrated Pest & Crop Management


Wayne C. Bailey
University of Missouri
Plant Science & Technology
(573) 882-2838

Wireworm Baits and Preplant Decisions for Corn

Wayne C. Bailey
University of Missouri
(573) 882-2838

Published: April 1, 2010

Wireworm is a group of insects which are often difficult to scout and manage. One method used to determine wireworm numbers prior to planting is the use of a solar baiting system. It can effectively estimate wireworm larval populations present at a site.

The scouting technique consists of placing bait stations or traps at several locations within a crop field. A minimum of two bait stations per acre is recommended, but in reality establishing 5 to 10 bait station per 30 to 40 acres of crop field should be sufficient if traps are properly located. In order to gain accurate estimates of the wireworm population, traps should be located in high risk areas such as in any grassy areas of the field or in areas where wireworms caused injury in previous seasons. Although trap placement in fields may occur 2-3 weeks prior to planting of the corn crop, traps placed 7-10 days prior to planting provide more accurate estimates of wireworm numbers as wireworms often remain deep in the soil until soil temperatures warm in the spring. With wet conditions and planting dates rapidly approaching in 2010, 7-10 days of monitoring should be sufficient to estimate wireworm populations in field crops.

This Wireworm trapping technique consists of digging a 4-inch deep by 6-9 inch wide hole at the soil surface. Place into the hole 1 cup of equal mixture of untreated corn and wheat seed which has be pre-soaked for 24 hours prior to use in order to speed up seed germination.. Fill and slightly mound each station with soil. Cover each mound with an 18-inch square of black polyethylene plastic (appropriate sized trash bag) followed by a 1-yard square sheet of clear polyethylene or similar clear plastic bag. Cover the edges of the plastic layers with soil to prevent wind damage. The black plastic layer absorbs heat and the clear plastic helps retain heat in the soil producing a "greenhouse effect" which allows for more rapid germination of the bait seed. Carbon dioxide is produced during the germination process and attracts wireworms to the bait. Just prior to planting, remove the plastic layers and soil from the bait and count the number of wireworm larvae in and around the germinating ball of bait seed. If the average number of wireworm larvae collected in bait stations located in the field average one or more per bait station, the economic threshold has been exceeded and treatment is justified. If an economic infestation is found, control options implemented before or at the time of planting are recommended. Management options include such strategies as use of liquid or granular insecticides at planting or planting insecticide treated seed. Rescue treatments for this soil inhabiting insect pest are not available at this time.


Table 1. Recommended Insecticides for Management of Alfalfa Weevil Larvae - 2010
Insect Common Name Trade Name Rate of Formulated Material Per Acre Placement Comments
Wireworm tebupirimphos +
*Aztec 2.1G 6.7 oz./1000 ft. row Band, furrow with incorporation Treatment is justified if field has chronic history of wireworm problems or if the number of wireworm larvae collected from solar bait stations exceed the economic threshold (average of one or more per trap).
  tebupirimphos +
*Aztec 4.67 3 oz./1000 ft. row Band, furrow with incorporation
  bifenthrin *Brigade 2EC 0.15 to 0.3 fl. oz./1000 ft. row Band, furrow
  bifenthrin *Brigade 2EC 3 to 4 fl. oz. Broadcast-PPI
  bifenthrin *Capture LFR 3.4 to 6.8 fl. oz Bad, furrow
  terbufos *Counter 15G 6 oz./1000 ft. row Bad, furrow
  bifenthrin *Fanfare 2EC 0.15 to 0.3 fl. oz./1000 ft. row  
  bifenthrin *Fanfare 2EC 3 to 4 fl. oz. Broadcast-PPI
  tefluthrin *Force 3G 4 to 5 oz./1000 ft. row Furrow
  tefluthrin *Force CS 0.46 to 0.57 oz./1000 ft. row Furrow
  chlorethoxyfos *Fortress 2.5G 6 to 7.5/1000 ft. row Furrow
  chlorethoxyfos *Fortress 5G 3 to 3.75 oz./1000 ft. row Furrow
  carbofuran *Furadan LFR 2.5 fl. oz./1000 ft. row Broadcast-PPI
  chlorpyrifos *Lorsban 4E 4 pt. Furrow
  chlorpyrifos *Lorsban 15G 8 oz./1000 ft. row Band, furrow
  gamma-cyhalothrin *Proaxis 0.66 fl. oz./1000 ft. row Broadcast-PPI
  chlorpyrifos *Nufos 4E 4 pt. Furrow
  chlorpyrifos *Nufos 15G 8 to 16 oz./1000 ft. row Furrow
  fipronil *Regent 4SC 0.24 fl. oz./1000 ft. row Band only, see label
  phorate *Thimet 20G 6 oz./1000 ft. row Band
  lambda-cyhalothrin *Warrior 0.66 fl. oz./1000 ft. row  
Seed Treatments thiamethoxam Cruiser See product label On seed
    Poncho See product label  
    Regent TS See product label  

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REVISED: April 23, 2012