The corn wireworm, Melanotus communis (Gyllenhal), is the most important wireworm pest of sugarcane (Saccharum spp. hybrid) production in Florida. The feeding behavior of wireworms (larvae) at soil temperatures from 18 to 28°C characteristic of Florida sugarcane was determined in laboratory tests. In blind tests, we showed that small, smooth-skinned Baby Yukon Gold potatoes, Solanum tuberosum L., could be used to successfully detect even minor feeding by the wireworms. This technique may prove useful to other wireworm researchers. Feeding frequency and percentage of wireworms feeding increased with increasing soil temperatures. Similarly, there was a positive correlation of weight gain with soil temperature. Our data showed that, although slowing down in the winter, some feeding damage by the wireworms is expected throughout the year in Florida sugarcane. Lastly, we observed very high variability in wireworm feeding and weight change even under constant conditions. Overall, our experience in this study is consistent with the general theme that wireworm feeding and weight change are highly variable even under constant conditions.

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