Cheshire firm develops 3-species-in-1 click beetle trap

The new agriotes lure

A new, highly effective pheromone trap has been developed for monitoring three of the key UK species of click beetle at the same time.

Over recent seasons, there have been increasing reports of severe damage in potatoes caused by wireworm – the larvae of the click beetle – with substantial economic consequences for growers.

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The leading causes are the loss of effective soil-applied chemical controls and changes in management practices across crop rotations. 

These include less intensive cultivation, more permanent groundcover, and more uncropped areas like grassy field margins.

Without effective chemical control, the importance of monitoring click beetle and wireworm activity has increased dramatically, as it helps to assess risk as part of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy to reduce damage.

Pheremone trapping

Pheromone trapping is a useful monitoring tool, and a new pheromone trap that is attractive to all three of the most common Agriotes click beetle species found in the UK is now available from International Pheromone Systems (IPS).

The species include Agriotes lineatus (lined click beetle)Agriotes obscurus (dusky wireworm) and Agriotes sputator (common click beetle). 

Until now, an effective lure for all three at the same time has not been an option, but scientists at IPS thought it would be advantageous, helping to provide a more accurate picture of adult beetle numbers and implement management strategies faster.

Pitfall trap

Previous iterations have also been expensive and complex to construct, but the new IPS pheromone trap model is based on a simple pitfall trap design for capturing weevil pests.

The firm says this has resulted in a trap that is easier to assemble, more robust and cheaper. 

Depending on volume of order, the new product will cost about £6-7/unit, with other traps selling for about £8-10/unit.

Development work throughout spring 2022 in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, showed that the new design significantly outperformed two alternatives and effectively attracted all three click beetle species.

Damaging pest

IPS technical manager Dr Sam Jones believes it is good news for farmers and growers battling this common and damaging pest species. 

He adds that often when pheromone formulations are developed to attract multiple species, a loss in efficacy is observed when compared with a single species variant. 

“However, this was not the case for Agriotes lineatus in this trial, which showed that the IPS multi-species lure variant can be used with confidence. 

Robust option

“The IPS trap was found to perform as well as other traps in the field and offers a more robust option for growers. 

Attraction may be further improved by using a second lure within the bucket, and this [method] will be researched in 2023.”

Growers and agronomists can register interest in using this new lure by contacting info@internationalpheromone.co.uk