Weeds, Insects & Diseases

Wireworms [Family Elateridae ]


Insect Biology

Wireworms are the larvae of click beetles and a common pest found in field and vegetable crops. Adult click beetles overwinter in the soil and emerge in the early spring, around late April to early May. Each female lays 200 to 400 eggs between late M...


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Description

Wireworms are tan or copper-coloured, cylindrical and hard-bodied. They vary in size from 1 to 3 cm in length (½ to 1½ inches) and have three pairs of legs near the head end.


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Management

Plants damaged by wireworms suffer from slow development and can be killed by extensive feeding or secondary infection. Because of their life cycle, wireworms are a significant threat to young plants which are most susceptible so early control is cri...


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Insect Biology

Wireworms are the larvae of click beetles and a common pest found in field and vegetable crops. Adult click beetles overwinter in the soil and emerge in the early spring, around late April to early May. Each female lays 200 to 400 eggs between late May and early June, depositing them on the soil surface down to a depth of 15 cm (nearly 6 inches).

The larvae hatch within three to seven weeks and spend the next three to five years feeding on roots and germinating seeds and moving up and down in the soil profile. When they’re ready, larvae go through a short pupation, about a month long, and emerge as adult click beetles in the soil. They overwinter there and emerge the following spring to lay eggs and begin the cycle again.

Because of their long and somewhat variable life cycle, it’s important to note that a field infested with wireworms is likely to contain populations at all growth stages, at the same time.

Larvae Description

Wireworms are tan or copper-coloured, cylindrical and hard-bodied. They vary in size from 1 to 3 cm in length (½ to 1½ inches) and have three pairs of legs near the head end.

  • Prairie Grain Wireworm

Pupae Description

Pupae are white and contained within earthen cells in the soil.

Adult Description

Adult wireworms, or click beetles, are hard-shelled, black-brown in colour and cause no crop damage at this stage in their life cycle. When placed on its back the adult will flip over by flexing the middle part of its body. This creates a distinctive ‘click’ sound which is why the adult pest if often referred to as a ‘click beetle’.

Management

Plants damaged by wireworms suffer from slow development and can be killed by extensive feeding or secondary infection. Because of their life cycle, wireworms are a significant threat to young plants which are most susceptible so early control is critical.

Syngenta conducted surveys in 2010 and 2016 to detect wireworm and click beetle presence in the prairies. The map below displays where wireworms were found in 2010 (blue pins) and click beetles were found in 2016 (preliminary results represented by yellow pins). Pins only indicate areas that were sampled and wireworms or click beetles were found; lack of a pin does not mean that there were no wireworms or click beetles present.
There are a number of cultural and chemical wireworm control options available to growers, and all should be included as part of an integrated crop management plan.

Recommended management practices include:

  • Effective Scouting. Walk fields to identify wilted plants or gaps where or areas of dead plants. Dig around the plant to look for feeding damage and insect larvae, to confirm the cause of the damage.
  • Wireworms can be monitored in the fall (or in the early spring for later-planted crops) using bait stations. A count of 0.5 to 1 wireworm per bait station indicates a potential problem. Make your planting and seed treatment decisions accordingly.
  • Check out the wireworm video blog for tips on how to bait balls can be used assess wireworm field populations
Sources:
OMAFRA

Recommended solution

  • Cruiser Vibrance Quattro logo

    Cruiser® Vibrance® Quattro is a ready-to-use, water-based seed treatment formulation for use in commercial seed treatment facilities or on-farm, for the control of certain insect pests and seed- and soil-borne diseases in cereal crops.