An EU-funded INBIOSOIL project has developed a new, eco-friendly method to control wireworm in potatoes that can be used in conventional and organic systems. The new method of pest control uses special formulated capsules called ATTRACAP®. They contain a strain of an entomopathogenic fungus that attacks specific pest insects and can reduce chemical pesticide use on potato farms.
The company BIOCARE is located in Lower Saxony, Germany. ‘We are overwhelmed by inquiries from farmers willing to use the product on their fields, therefore the upscaling of production will continue,’ Prof. Dr. Stefan Vidal, INBIOSOIL Project Coordinator, said. ‘We expect ATTRACAP to become a standard control strategy for both organic and conventional farmers,’ he added.T
The capsules aim to control wireworms – currently regarded as the most pressing problem in potato production. ‘They contain compounds which are non-synthetic products and therefore their use is possible in both organic and conventional cropping systems. The Attract & Kill strategy, based on these capsules, will substitute the use of synthetic chemical insecticides,’ Vidal explained.
The launch of these capsules in 2016 in Germany came at a time, when virtually no specific synthetic compounds targeting wireworms were available. The compound used in conventional fields in the past was Fipronil, known commercially as Goldor® Bait, a product produced by BASF.
However, the European Commission introduced a moratorium on products suspected of playing a role in the bee disease Colony Collapse Disorder. Whilst national registration agencies say that emergency case approval of this product would be possible, BASF has not applied for it.