The fear of farmers and gardeners gets entangled only with the name of wireworm. These pests infect many types of crops, kill young plants in no time, and remain in the soil for years. Most traditional pesticides have no match with these insects.
Despite their poor reputation, learning about wireworms will help you take back control in your garden. Appropriate preventive measures can prevent an infection before it occurs, so let’s see what gardeners need to know about wireworm in the garden.
- 1 What are wireworms?
- 2 Wireworm lifecycle
- 3 Symptoms of a wireworm infection
- 4 How to stop wireworm
- 5 How to get rid of wireworm in your garden
What are wireworms?
Wireworms are destructive pests for farmers and orchardists, especially for corn growers. They quickly destroy crops, and management is difficult.
Wireworms are the larvae of click beetles, which get their name from a clicking sound when they try to reverse themselves. Wireworms are thin with a rigid body, are yellow to brown in color and measure between 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches in length.
These pests may be small, but they cause considerable damage to young, vulnerable plants. One of the biggest problems is that wireworms live anywhere from two to six years as larvae; They take a long time to mature. They overwinter in the soil as temperatures rise, moving closer to the surface.
Wireworms infect a range of plants, such as:
- The beat
- Sweet potato
Wireworms are found everywhere throughout North America; They are most common in fields and grass pastures. Women like to lay eggs in these places. These pests cause severe damage in areas with poor drainage.
Wireworm is no joke; You do not want these pests in your garden. Gardeners need to work cautiously to prevent them from finding their garden and move fast to prevent infection. The fight against wireworm can last for years until you take the appropriate steps!
Wireworm larvae and adults overwinter in the soil. In the spring, the female beetles emerge from the soil, mating and laying underground. Within four weeks, all eggs hatch, and the larvae begin destroying any nearby plants. An average female click beetle lays up to 100 eggs!
The larvae live underground for two to six years, continuing to feed, but most of their damage occurs in the spring when the soil temperature is cold. They are not very big fans of hot temperatures. The larvae prefer to live in moist, cool, heavy soil, sticking to the top six inches of soil. During the dry or hot season, they will plunge into further depths to find their preferred conditions.
The pupil stage begins in late summer and ends when adults hatch in spring. Typically, your garden will show only one generation per year, requiring one to six years to complete a lifecycle.
Symptoms of a wireworm infection
Damage from wireworms depends on which plant the insect feeds. In commercial corn fields, the larvae eat the germ inside the corn kernels, leaving only the seed cover.
Typically, wireworms tunnel into parts of your plants, such as roots and stems, causing leaves to wilt and stunt growth. The biggest damage occurs when the plants are young and the weather cools down, slowing germination.
Wireworms also feed on the younger roots of older, established plants. This leads to dry roots with discoloration. If you see an older perennial that is not growing well all of a sudden and begins to wilt, you may have wireworms, especially if your plant is under stress.
Adult click beetles do not harm the plant, so once they develop into their adult form, the only problem they cause is to lay eggs in your soil.
How to stop wireworm
Wireworm is one of the most difficult pests to get rid of in your garden, so preventive measures are necessary. It is far easier to prevent these pests from entering your garden than to get rid of these pests.
Here are some tips to try.
Cultivating the top six to eight inches of your garden soil should be a task every winter. By doing so, the egg-laying adults fall into adverse winter conditions, leading to their death. Also, it exposes the pests to those natural enemies who want to eat them for dinner.
You should plan gardening several times before your garden season if you suspect that you may have wireworms or are worried about wireworm infection.
Encourage birds in your garden
Birds are a natural enemy for wireworms, so make your garden a place where birds enjoy roaming: keep birdhouses, feeders and bathrooms near your garden. Birds eat large amounts of wireworm larvae, preventing an infection before it becomes very bad.
Practice crop cycle
You should always rotate your plants here and there. Applying them in one place year after year creates an ideal environment for insects. Rotating crops helps prevent pests from sticking around; Most pests do not infect all types of crops!
One thing you can do to prevent damage from wireworms is to avoid planting too early in the cold soil. Later plant when the soil is hot.
Later planting accelerates germination, so your plants quickly establish and reduce the time they are short and vulnerable to wireworm damage.
How to get rid of wireworm in your garden
Wireworm is a problematic insect that is difficult to eliminate in your garden. Once you are sure that wireworm is your problem, here are some tricks that you can try to get rid of wireworm in your garden.
Dry flour feed
A wireworm control method is to add dried flour fodder to your garden soil using a corn planter or something similar. Check the trap every few days. If there are two or more wireworms inside the bait, remove them and replace them with a new one. Continue to check and replace the bait until no more wireworms are caught.
Potato dagger feed
If dried flour feed is not an option for you, then cut the potato pieces and place them on a skewer. Bury the potato skewer in the ground and take it out after a week. If you find wireworm inside, throw it out or burn it; Do not add them to your compost!
If you go to the garden section, you will find insecticides labeled for wireworm control, and before planting them or when you plant your garden. The bad news is that once your crop is infected with wireworm you cannot apply these pesticides.
One of the best beneficial insects that care for you with wireworms are beneficial nematodes. Apply these when planting if you know that wireworms live in your soil, and they will attack and destroy pests in the soil. When you purchase beneficial nematodes, you need a pint to treat planting area up to 550 square feet.
The last attempt you can make before removing the plants is creating a soil ditch that contains a botanical insecticide called pyrethrin. It is somewhat effective, but it also kills beneficial insects in your garden. This should be the last resort before removing everything.
Unfortunately, if nothing works and you have infected plants in your garden, you need to remove all infected plants and dispose of them immediately. You need to get them out of your garden, otherwise the infection will continue.
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