Wireworms occur in most of the world, and are the larvae of click beetles, family Elateridae. They are up to one and a half inches long, yellowish-brown with a hard, shiny, jointed exterior. Unlike Millipedes, with which they are often confused, they do not curl up when disturbed, or have a large number of legs. They attack many different plants, tunnelling into large seeds, roots, stems, bulbs and tubers, and are often most numerous in new areas dug out of grass. Larvae may spend several years feeding under the soil surface before pupating and emerging as adult beetles. Preparing new planting beds in Fall and re-digging several times at intervals may help to reduce wireworm numbers by the time Spring planting time arrives. Try burying cut pieces of potato as traps, inspecting every few days. Wireworms are also controlled by predatory nematodes.

Illustration of wireworms

Image used with permission from University of California Statewide IPM Project, Jack Kelly Clark, photographer. Any additional uses of this image must be received from the copyright holder directly – AHS does not have permission to grant additional usage of this image for any purposes.

See also:  Pests

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