ElatPro: Spotting the needle in a haystack: Predicting wireworm activity in top soil for integrated pest management in arable crops


Wireworms - the abundant, soil-dwelling larvae of click beetles - are big trouble for a range of agricultural crops, including potatoes, maize and vegetables. Typically, wireworms damage crops when they forage in the upper soil layers and munch at the crops' below-ground parts. Unfortunately, this behaviour does not necessarily make wireworms easily accessible to pest control because they burrow downwards into the depths of the soil when upper soil conditions are unfavourable or when they need to moult or hibernate. Predicting wireworms' vertical movements between soil layers and identifying when the wireworms actually dwell in the upper layers is crucial for the decision and timing of control measures against these pests. The ElatPro project involving scientists from 14 different research and other institutions in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland will shed light on wireworm activity in the soil in order to significantly improve the current predictive models and, based on the knowledge generated from the project, to develop a decision support system which is applicable across European arable land. Coordinated field studies in the project countries will help identify the main pestiferous wireworm species in the different regions and examine their species-specific migration behaviour, which are important prerequisites for a widely applicable integrated pest management strategy against wireworms.


 VIDEO: GLOBAL 2000 wireworm project - how wireworms affect potato harvests (DE)


ATE members involved in the ElatPro project:

  • Michael Traugott (PI)
  • Christiane Zeisler (PhD student)
  • Sandra Zeller, Kristina Gassner, Johannes Buchner (BSc. students)


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