The Buckwheat Effect: A Biopesticide for Wireworm?

Citation

Bohorquez Ruiz, Y.L., Scott, I.M., McNeil, J.N. (2019). The Buckwheat Effect: A Biopesticide for Wireworm?. Journal of Economic Entomology, [online] 112(2), 625-632. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jee/toy366

Plain language summary

The published article contains laboratory experiments to determine if buckwheat produces phytochemicals that act as deterrents, anti-feedants, or toxins against wireworms. This was important to understand how buckwheat negatively affects wireworm and reduces crop damage to when it is planted as a rotation crop. Choice assays with buckwheat, wheat and barley determined there was no evidence that the wireworms were deterred by buckwheat and the germinating stage of all three crops was the most attractive. Twenty-one day, no choice feeding assays determined there were no changes in mass and mortality of larvae when fed buckwheat or barley, however, while wireworm herbivory significantly reduced the growth of barley, it did not affect buckwheat, suggesting that this species may produce anti-feedants. This information is important to researchers to better understand the buckwheat effect, but longer feeding assays and field trials are required to confirm this possibility.

Abstract

Growing buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench. Caryophyllales: Polygonaceae) in rotation with potato and other vegetable crops has been reported to decrease the density of an invasive wireworm species (Agriotes sputator Linnaeus. Coleoptera: Elateridae) in Nova Scotia, Canada. It was predicted that the negative effects on wireworm populations result from phytochemicals by buckwheat that act as deterrents, anti-feedants, or toxins in the roots or when released into the soil. Choice assays were conducted to test the attractiveness of germinating, branching, and flowering buckwheat, red spring wheat (Triticum aestivum Linnaeus. Poales: Poaceae) and island barley (Hordeum vulgare Linnaeus. Poales: Poaceae) to the larvae. Twenty-one day, no choice feeding assays were conducted to determine change in mass and mortality of A. sputator larvae when fed buckwheat or barley. There was no evidence that the wireworms were deterred by buckwheat and the germinating stage of all three crops was the most attractive based on the 24-h choice assays. After the 21-d no choice feeding assays, no differences between hosts were observed; however, wireworm herbivory significantly reduced the growth of barley but not buckwheat. The findings from the no choice feeding assays suggest that buckwheat may produce anti-feedants, but longer term feeding assays and field trials are required to confirm this possibility.

Publication date

2019-03-21

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