The Agronomists, Ep 63: Dennis Van Dyk, Ryan Barrett, and Shad Milligan on wild, wacky wireworms


When it comes to insect pests, most of us feel quite strongly about them. Wireworms are no different; they are an insect we love to hate.

To talk about all things wireworms, we go to our experts, and this time, we have three!

Join in for the fun and informative session on all things wireworms with host Lyndsey Smith and guests Dennis Van Dyk of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), Ryan Barrett of the PEI Potato Board, and Shad Milligan of Syngenta Canada.

Catch a new episode of The Agronomists every Monday night at 8 pm E!


  • Potatoes are flowing south again! Ryan Barrett (and the rest of us, are very happy).
  • Southern Alberta is starting to seed
  • Wireworm damage plus mitigation, costs the potato industry about $10 million a year
  • The fields that have wireworms…they love them.
  • Trying to manage wireworms outside of the rotation can be difficult.
  • Are neonics still allowed on potatoes in Ontario? Short answer, yes.
  • For the cereal side, wireworms gravitate towards them for a food source
  • Especially in the last ten years have we seen wireworms wreak havoc in the cereal crops
  • Wireworms will actually gravitate to corn first
  • How do they find that food source?
  • You’ve got different life cycles of wireworms in a field, so the variation can be very large
  • European wireworm is starting to show its face… however, not in Ontario, yet
  • There’s a species of wireworms that actually prefers irrigated land — the californicus

CLIP 1: Wheat School: Scouting for wireworms is key for future control

  • These are not actually worms…they are worm-like creatures
  • Click beetle traps are fascinating. Good for tracking the level of click beetles…but even better for mass trappings in organic growing situations
  • You can build your own traps! Tune in to see some thoughts.
  • Mustard could be a good rotation option for wireworms.
  • Buckwheat in a cover crop mix could actually help contain the wireworms.
  • Is rotation effective enough? Where do the management plans shake out?
  • If you make a bait ball, be sure to put a flag with it. It’s easy to lose

CLIP 2: Canola School: Watch for wireworm, the underground feeder

  • The consensus on bait balls is in…not worth your time, says the panel.
  • Get your prairie guide to wireworms by Dr. Haley Catton, now!
  • Does more tillage = more wireworm? What does integrated management look like?
  • Growers use that first pass tillage for threshold levels.
  • We have relied a lot on crop history in the past when it comes to wireworm management
  • If I use brown mustard or buckwheat…how often do we have to have it in rotation? From the veg production standpoint, we don’t really know yet, but there are many innovative growers trying to find an answer for us in regards to this.
  • There’s no one solution for anyone…it really, really, depends on crop history
  • Integrated Pest Management. That is all.
  • Is early damage indicative of what fall pressure may be?
  • How do we evaluate what’s on the market? We have to look at the past to completely understand the future.

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The Agronomists (view all)Season 3 (2022) Episode 33

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