Title : ATTRACAP: An innovative attract-and-kill strategy for the control of wireworms
Wireworms, the polyphagous soil-dwelling larvae of click beetles (Coleoptera: Elateridae), are a major insect pest of worldwide relevance causing tremendous yield losses in several crop production systems, like potatoes. The entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium brunneum is already known as an efficient biocontrol agent against wireworms. However, applications of unformulated M. brunneum are too expensive due to a required high dose per ha. Besides, the fungus is poorly storable for months and has a low rhizosphere competence. Therefore, an innovative attract and kill formulation based on solely biological components was developed: ATTRACAP®. The granulate contains baker’s yeast as an attract component, an isolate of M. brunneum as a kill component and a substrate as a nutrient source and drying aid. The granulate emits CO2 after contact with soil humidity over a period of several weeks to attract the wireworms. Simultaneously, M. brunneum is growing out of the beads and forming new conidia infecting the attracted wireworms. The attract and kill formulation enables a lower application dose per hectare, thus, making the granulate cost-effective and eco-friendly. In 2018, ATTRACAP® obtained for the third time the emergency registration in Germany and Austria. The future aims are to improve the efficacy of ATTRACAP® and to transfer this technology to other pests. These aims will be investigated in a new research project called ATTRACAP and the project is founded by the Bundesministerium für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft (BMEL).