Sampling for Wireworms

EPA Grant Number: GF9500023
Title: Sampling for Wireworms
Investigators: Simmons, Carol
Institution: Iowa State University
EPA Project Officer: Michaud, Jayne
Project Period: May 1, 1995 through January 1, 2000
Project Amount: $32,896
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1995) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Fellowship - Ecology


This research will focus on developing a farmer or consultant-oriented, user-friendly system of sampling for wireworms to accurately determine the population within a field. This is becoming a pressing issue because the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) that was adopted to reduce soil erosion of highly erodible cropland has expired. Many farmers will be putting their land back into production, the potential for problems with soil-insect pests, especially wireworms exists. It is this potential for outbreaks which causes environmental concern, as most of the land may be unnecessarily treated with insecticides to avoid such outbreaks. This research will be carried out through weekly sampling of three wireworm infested fields from April to October. The absolute sampling method will include soil core sampling upon which five relative sampling methods will be compared. The five relative sampling methods are as follows: 1) bait mixture traps which consist of a station approximately 10cm deep and 25 cm wide, with 1/2 cup of 1:1 corn wheat mixture; 2) a wire-mesh bait trap which will consist of a 61 cm X 7.6 cm section of hardware cloth bent into the shape of a right angle; 3) the melon baiting technique which will used by randomly placing ten melons in each study location and checking these stations on a fortnightly basis; 4) an adult sampling method which will use a TABM pheromone; and 5) pitfall trapping which will be used to measure both larval and adult populations of Elateridae. In a attempt to develop a farmer-oriented trap, 2 liter-plastic soda bottles will be used to make pitfalls. These traps will be constructed by cutting off the top of the bottle and inverting this top inside the bottle. The five sampling methods will be compared with the core procedure using regression analysis. Regression models developed with this procedure will be tested for accuracy in estimating absolute larval densities. In addition, user-friendliness of the relative methods will be assessed to develop an accurate and easy method to examine wireworm populations. The method of sampling with the highest precision for the lowest cost will be recommended for field use.

Supplemental Keywords:

RFA, Scientific Discipline, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecology, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, Ecosystem Protection, exploratory research environmental biology, Chemistry, Ecological Effects - Environmental Exposure & Risk, computing technology, Ecology and Ecosystems, Ecological Indicators, Agricultural Engineering, sampling methods, adult sampling, TABM pheromone, wireworms, wireworm populations, bait mixture traps, regression models, wire-mesh bait trap, agricultural environments, sampling for wireworms, soil, melon baiting technique, pitfall trapping, agriculture, examining wireworm populations, soil sampling

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1995
  • 1996
  • 1997
  • 1998
  • Final