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.
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Vol. 112 • No. 2