Chris Hewitt

Chris Hewitt, BASF Brand Manager for Seed Treatments in Canada, says Teraxxa has a new mode of action to control wire worms in cereal crops. Photo by Andrea Johnson.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Launch of the BASF brand Teraxxa insecticide seed treatment is expected in 2021 and is an exciting new product line for controlling wireworms in small grain fields.

The insecticide features a new mode of action through the active ingredient, Broflanilide, and is proposed with regulatory agencies in Canada and the U.S. for use as a seed treatment for cereal crops.

The new mode of action is different than that of a neonicotinoid, explained Chris Hewitt, BASF Brand Manager for Seed Treatments in Canada. He spoke recently at an ag media conference held in North Carolina.

“Teraxxa has a unique mode of action that actually impacts the wireworm central nervous system, causing it to overstimulate at which point it will be unable to move or feed and will die,” Hewitt said.

Wireworms are a significant pest for farmer in western Canada, as well as in some fields in Montana. The worms are showing up in North Dakota too.

The wireworm larvae are hard, smooth, slender, wire-like worms varying from 1-2 inches in length when mature. They are a yellowish-white to a coppery color with three pairs of small, thin legs behind the head. The last body segment is forked or notched, according to Extension materials from North Dakota State University.

One of the reasons the larvae and click beetle adult populations are showing up is the ban on lindane as an insecticide in 2007. Another reason for new outbreaks is cover crops, CRP acres and no-till create soil conditions that allow wireworms to thrive.

Wireworms are the larval stage of click beetles, and in the larval stage, they can live belowground for two to seven years.

Currently, growers are using neonicotinoid systemic insecticides as well as pyrethroids. Planting and growing alfalfa or using long crop rotations reduces wireworm populations too.

Teraxxa is currently being assessed for registration in Canada and the United States.

As a seed treatment, BASF thinks Teraxxa can break the wireworm reproduction cycle and offer a true solution for farmers, said Hewitt. It would not control aphids, so if that was a concern growers would possibly want to add a neonicotinoid product.

BASF cannot discuss pricing until EPA registration is granted.

“We’re demonstrating a pretty good performance benefit relative to market standard seed treatments today and part of our solution is ensuring that we’re offering growers the right value as well,” Hewitt said.