Identify and treat Wireworms in the UK


The most common vegetables to be affected are potatoes, carrots and tomatoes but they will attack a wide variety of plants. They are especially common in ground which recently had grass growing in it — the wireworms feed on grass roots although they don’t eat enough of them to do much damage in most cases.


The symptoms of wireworm vary depending on the type of vegetable affected. Common symptoms by vegetable are listed below. In general though, root crops will appear unaffected until you dig them up. Other crops will suddenly wilt and die.


The damage caused by the pest will have damaged the potato and may make other diseases more likely causing the potato tuber to rot. The longer the potatoes are left in the ground the more extensive will be the damage. The crop can still be eaten but cutting around the damage is likely to be a very tedious process and not worth the effort.

To distinguish wireworm damage from slug damage in potatoes, cut an affected tuber into quarters to expose the tunnelling. Wireworm damage will consist of thin holes whereas slug damage will have hollowed out large parts of the potato tuber.


There will be few symptoms, if any at all, above ground if carrots are attacked by wireworm. When the crop is dug up however, the carrots will have small black-edged holes in them. Similar to potatoes, the longer carrots are left in the ground the worst the damage will be. The crop is still edible if the affected areas are cut out.


In the case of tomatoes the wireworms eat the most tender roots and then burrow up the stem to eat that as well. You may even see them on the top of the soil surface eating out from the main stem.


Because the larvae take between one to five years to pupate into adults there will be several generations of wireworm in infested soil at the same time.

Wireworms prefer cool and moist soil, in warm and dry weather they tend to migrate down deeper in the soil. Their activity spans a range from just below the ground surface to 30cm / 1foot below it. In the UK they have increased in numbers significantly over the past few years.




At the end of each season remove all traces of crops grown in the ground. This will take away a food source of the wireworm. In areas where wireworm are a problem try to grow crops which they don’t like, peas, beans and broad beans are a good choice. For a year or two crops which wireworm like can be grown in grow-bags or containers. They are almost never found in containers.

Turn any nearby compost heaps frequently. Compost heaps are an ideal food source for wireworm and turning them will disturb the pests and bring them to the surface for birds to eat.


What is emerging from recent research is that wireworms do have very definite preferences for the conditions in which they live best. So, if you have a choice, unlikely we understand, always grow crops attractive to wireworm on north facing land in preference to south facing land, they don’t like cold soil!.

Another, more practical, nugget of advice is to grow early or second early potatoes and early carrots. Harvest both as soon as they are of a reasonable size. This will definitely minimise the damage done by wireworm and also reduce their source of food. The key period for wireworm damage is August and September.

What is also clear is that one patch of land may be affected by wireworm whereas another patch very nearby may well be almost free of wireworm. This brings us to the often mentioned subject of using bait to trap wireworms. The idea is simple, place a single vegetable (a potato or carrot) cut in half a few inches / 10cm below the soil surface and it will quickly begin to rot. Rotting carrots / potatoes are very attractive to wireworms and they will be eaten in preference to healthy growing vegetables. Pull up the vegetable in a week or so and with a bit of luck it will have several wireworms in it which can be disposed of. Fine in theory but almost useless in practice because the wireworm population will be almost unaffected by the removal of a few of their number.

However, this practice can be used to decide which particular areas of a plot of land are badly infested and which are relatively free. Using this information you will know where to cultivate wireworm prone crops and where not to. You can also concentrate your digging and removal of grass on the areas where it will be most beneficial.

The easiest way we have found to do this is to buy some long carrots from the supermarket, cut them in half, peel them and then push them into the ground with the top just poking out so that they can be found in a week or two. Pull them out after a couple of weeks and compare the damage done by wireworms around different areas of your plot.


Date: 27 October 2017 From: Karl Boyd
I have heard that caliente mustard seed helps kill these off.

Date: 08 September 14 From: John Boyd
My father use to treat the plot with garden lime in October / November then dig it in during winter. He was adamant it cleared the soil of wireworm and slugs.


How to get rid of the wireworm in a greenhouse with tomatoes

Peru and Ecuador are considered the birthplace of tomatoes. The ancient Indians grew fragrant fruits for food and magical rituals. Tomato came to Russia at the end of the 18th century. He liked our great-grandfathers no less than the Incas and Maya. The tomato is romanticly called the «love apple». Planting southern culture in polycarbonate greenhouses allows you to harvest a rich crop. Defenseless saplings and berries of tomatoes attract various pests. One of the most annoying is the wireworm.

Wireworm — what it looks like and what crops it eats

Wireworm — wormlike larva The beetle beetle is from 1 to 5 cm long. It has a thin rigid body with a shiny cover of a brown color.

Winter spends digging into the soil to a depth up to 50 cm. In the first year of life, their length is only 7 mm. In the 2nd and 3rd years they grow and feed heavily. On the 4th year in August, the larva makes a mink in the soil and pupates there.

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Young bugs overwinter in their burrows. Their mass departure begins in April. From May to July, the nutcrackers lay eggs under the lumps of earth, cracks in the soil. After 2-3 weeks of new eggs appear wireworm.

It feeds on roots, stems, tubers, young shoots and it eats even flowers. The beetles themselves are harmless. The danger for the harvest are the larvae. The wireworm is a great lover of wheatgrass creeping.

How to damage tomatoes

The pest bites into young tender stems and roots of tomato seedlings. Damaged plants are stunted, yellow and dry. Bacteria and fungi willingly settle in the pits done by the pest, causing rotting of the tomato. Often eats flowers, greatly reducing yields.

Wireworm does not touch plants of burgundy and pink varieties.

Where does the greenhouse come from

  • The wire-guard already lived on that plot of land where the greenhouse was built and the tomatoes were planted.
  • Availability wheatgrass indicates the occupancy of a plot by a pest. Even the weed weed left between the beds is good food for the wireworm.
  • Wet, warm soil greenhouses like wireworms.
  • In the greenhouse there are no birds eating wireworms in natural conditions.
  • In imported soil there were larvae click.
  • Likes to live on acid clay soils.
  • Plants are planted close to each other.
  • The soil does not loosen and does not dig up for the winter.

The presence of wheatgrass creeping indicates the presence of wireworm

How to get rid of the pest on tomatoes

  • Get rid of weeds, especially from the wheatgrass and burdock. Do not leave weeded weeds in the area, burn them together with rhizomes.
  • Permanent soil loosening. Dig the soil and let the sun warm the ground before planting a new seedling. The larvae will die (not all, of course, but enough).
  • Wireworm can’t stand mustard, rape, buckwheat, spinach, dahlia. Plant these plants in between rows. Not to taste the pest and legumes — peas, beans, lupine.
  • The trap is made from a half-liter jar dug in the neck. Put carrot and potato pieces there. The wireworm will crawl over the food and not get out.
  • The other trap looks like sliced ​​potatoes, carrots and beets. Bury to a depth of 10-15 cm. After 3-4 days to get the trap, destroy the pests, update the bait and bury it again. Change the location of traps.
  • The pest settles on acidic soil. To reduce the acidity make chalk, egg shells, wood ash, dolomite flour. Dolomite flour is a mineral fertilizer of natural origin. Contains calcium and magnesium. Additives contribute to the soil when digging, loosening, planting.
  • Sufficient watering of plants and soil moisture.. Sometimes too dry soil makes the wireworm look for moisture in succulent stems.
  • Put a handful of onion peel or a pinch of mustard powder in the hole before planting.

Drugs against wireworm

  • Watering plants weak manganese solution (to 10 liters of water dissolve 5 g of powder).
  • Introduction nitrogenous fertilizer. Ammonium sulfate and ammonium chloride at 30 g per 1 m2, ammonium nitrate — 20 g per 1 m2. Fertilize the soil before flowering plants and during the ovary of the fruit.
  • «Basudin»— insecticide intestinal and contact lesions. The active ingredient is diazonin. Available in granular form, in a package of 30 g. Fill a clean container with three-quarters dry sand. Pour in the product packaging and stir evenly. Before planting seedlings in each hole fill one teaspoon of the obtained sand mixture. The action lasts up to one and a half months.
  • «Diazonin» 10 RG — a powerful insecticide for pest control, paralyzing the nervous system. It is a low odor oil. The drug is treated plants in the growth stage. Saves effect up to 3 weeks. Neither the soil nor the crop does not accumulate.
  • «Aktara» — Tiatoxam-based insecticide. Gets into stalks and leaves of plants, does not accumulate in fruits. When spraying, it retains the effect for up to 4 weeks, when applied to the soil — up to 6 weeks. The drug is available in granules. A solution for irrigation is prepared in proportion to 4 g of granules per 10 liters of water. Spraying is done by dissolving 1.2 g of the drug in 10 liters of water.
  • «Provotoks» — Another drug based on diazonin. Also produced in granules (packs of 40/120 g). 2-4 pellets are introduced into the hole before planting. Packing 40 g is enough for 10 m2. At temperatures above 250 degrees, the drug is not used. Recommend to work with the drug in the morning or in the evening, in dry calm weather.
  • «Nemabakt» — not a chemical, but a biological drug. Contains microscopic nematodes and bacteria. The nematode is implanted in the wireworm, the bacterium destroys its insides. Use the drug at temperatures up to 250 degrees. One packet of the drug is dissolved in 10 liters of pure water (t = 200C). Wait 1.5 hours. Take from a bucket with the drug 0.5 liters and pour it into a watering can. One watering can about 5 m2. Watering is done in the evening, preferably after rain or regular watering.

Try to get rid of the pest agrotechnical methods. When working with toxic substances strictly follow the instructions for use and their own safety.

The wireworm is a dangerous pest that significantly degrades the crop of tomatoes. It is possible and necessary to fight it, despite the length and complexity of the process. It is impossible to get rid of the nutcracker by 100%, it is painfully tenacious and numerous. However, a significant reduction in the number of individuals is quite achievable. And believe me, it’s worth it! The reward for shock work will be a record collection of ripe tomatoes.

Wireworm in Potatoes Cause Identification Prevention Control Potato Wireworm

Potato wireworms look at first glance like small, thin earthworms. They are about 25mm long and on close examination you will see three pairs of forward-facing, tiny, short legs at the front which are more like mouthparts than legs.

They burrow into the potato leaving holes which allows rot and other diseases access. Wireworms can attack other root vegetables, especially carrots, leeks and the stems of seedlings just below the soil.

What are Potato Wireworms?

Wireworms are the larval stage of click beetles and come from a number of different species; Agriotes lineatus, A. obscurus, A. sputator and Athous haemorrhoidalis. The exact species is really irrelevant to the gardener though since they are all similar in appearance and damage.

Control of Wireworms

In the wild click beetles live in grasslands so they tend to be problem where pasture or lawn is converted to being a vegetable plot or the plot is bordering grassland. Grass paths can also be a problem as the wireworms migrate from the grass into the growing areas.

Thorough cultivation exposing the wireworms to the surface where birds can get them will reduce the population. If you keep chickens, run them over the plot. If wireworm is a major problem or you’re in the first couple of years after converting grass to plot, it’s worth forking over the surface three or four times over a week to expose as many wireworms as possible.

The best time for this is March and April so it can be worth delaying planting of potatoes until May. Even then, disturbing the soil between the rows with a three prong cultivator or deep hoeing is helpful as it exposes yet more to the birds.

Crop rotation combined with good cultivation should gradually reduce the problem of wireworms to insignificance in three or four years but there may be a way to speed the process. Sow a crop of mustard and as it starts to flower between July and October, dig it into the soil.

The theory is that the wireworms will be so well fed that they will mature in the one season and turn into click beetles that will fly away to their natural grasslands leaving the potatoes safe for next year.

Remove potatoes from the ground as soon as they are mature to reduce damage. Early varieties, being in the ground for less time, are more likely to escape damage than maincrop varieties.

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You can also consider growing potatoes in bags until the worm population has declined.

Wireworm Traps

Wireworm traps can be helpful. Take an ordinary potato and cut into halves or quarters for a large one. Skewer the potato and place a couple of inches (5cm) under the soil. These should attract the worms and after a fortnight or so remove them to the bin or chicken run.

Farmers do have some chemical controls available but home and organic growers can use a biological control. The nematode heterorhabditis megidis which is used for the control of chafer grubs is said to be effective against wireworms.

Wireworm Resistant Potato Varieties

Although there have been, to my knowledge, no trials of different varieties resistance to wireworm attack my experience is that the dense flesh of Sarpo Mira was unaffected by wireworm. Sarpo Mira was also resistant to slugs so varieties with slug resistance may be worth growing on affected plots.


Potatoes, carrots, onions and beets are a few of the garden vegetables damaged by this soil-dwelling pest. Here’s how to get rid of wireworms using proven, natural and organic techniques.

Common in home gardens across North America, wireworms (up to 1-1/2 inch long) are tough slender worms with shiny skin and three pairs of legs just behind their head. They are yellow to brownish-red in color and feed entirely underground, attacking germinating seeds, roots, bulbs and tubers. Damaged plants soon wilt and die. If infestations are heavy, thin and patchy crops may appear in the garden and reseeding will most likely be necessary.

Note: Wireworms are the larval stage of click beetles. Approximately 1/2 inch long, these brown to black colored, bullet-shaped beetles are notable for their ability to click and right themselves when placed on their backs.

Life Cycle

Wireworm larvae and adults overwinter in the soil. In early spring female beetles emerge from the soil, mate and lay eggs underground. Hatching takes place in 2-4 weeks, and the young larvae begin working their way through the soil in search of food. Larvae feed underground for 2-6 years with most of their damage occurring in early spring when soil temperatures are cool. Pupation occurs in late summer and adult beetles emerge in the spring. One generation per year, the life-cycle requiring 1-6 years to complete.

How to Control

  1. Thorough cultivation of the top 6- to 8-inches of soil makes conditions unfavorable to the egg laying adults and exposes all stages of the pest to weather and natural enemies.
  2. Birds can consume large amounts of larvae. Encourage them by hanging houses and feeders near your garden.
  3. Crop rotation is especially important to the organic vegetable grower because it can help reduce many pest problems that lead to the use of pesticides.
  4. Potatoes make great wireworm traps. Cut a potato in half and run a stick through the middle. Bury the spud about one inch deep so that the stick stands vertically as a handle. Pull the traps out after a day or two and discard wireworms.
  5. Apply Beneficial Nematodes when planting to attack and destroy developing pests in the soil. One pint — 10 million active units — treats up to 550 square feet of planting area.
  6. EcoSMART Organic Insect Killer can be used around home foundations, lawns and landscapes (ornamental and flower gardens). Apply 2-5 lbs over 1000 sq ft every 2-4 weeks or as needed.
  7. Apply SNS 203, made from 100% pure food grade materials, as a soil drench to kill the eggs and larval stages. Mix 2-4 oz per gallon of water and thoroughly wet affected and surrounding areas. Will NOT work on adult stages.
  8. Soil drenches containing the botanical insecticide pyrethrin are somewhat effective, but should only be used as a last resort.

Tip: If possible, wait until the soil has warmed before planting tubers. Larvae prefer cool soils and dig deeper into the ground when temperatures rise.

Recommended Products

Twist Tiller (TNT-4)

Quickly improves soil by breaking up the hard compacted top layer.

Insect Granules

Easy to apply formula works on contact, yet is completely safe around children and pets!

SNS 203

Protects your crops without harming your DNA! Very concentrated.


A powerful, fast-acting formula made to provide broad spectrum relief.

How to protect potatoes from wireworm

How to deal with wireworm on potatoes. Vegetable garden, how to get rid of the larvae of wireworms in potatoes. Tips gardener pest control

Let us, first we will tell you what wireworms. Larva potato wireworms – a worm-like larva of a small size with a yellow color, and the first form of this beetle larvae, wireworms. Believe me, how to get rid wireworms know not everyone, and frankly, it is no less dangerous than even the best potato beetle. The most active and voracious wireworms are after the rain, when the ground is still slightly damp.

Means of struggle against potato wireworm

The fight against wireworm gardener in the garden makes use of different methods, of which there are several, the most productive:

  • One of the surest ways to help bring wireworms from the garden is during the planting of potatoes in each hole to throw about one tablespoon of superphosphate. Ideal for such provotoks. Only provotoks recommend throwing in the wells, which are located at a distance of about 5 cm from the tuber, after throwing in the hole, of course, it is filled.
  • One of the safest ways to fight a different weeding weeds such as couch grass. The roots of wheatgrass – the most favorite place in which he lives a pest of potatoes. It also helps fit around the beds with potatoes enormous amount of marigold or during planting potatoes under each tuber not forget to throw a bit of onion peel.
  • And that exactly at 100% to get rid of the larvae of wireworms in your garden, this nematode nemabakt buy. This little worm you can easily buy in any garden store, it will be in the ground, “Protection”. This ground in small doses need to throw a tuber. After the first use of nematodes nemabakt, it will destroy the order of 70-100% of the larvae of the pest. And with that, the very use of the soil “protection” does not harm human health or your vegetable garden.
  • And the last gardener advice – try to plant potatoes on the site where previously grown peas or beans. This will significantly reduce the number of wireworms in the garden.

Pest wireworm or Drotyanka: photos, methods of struggle and how to get rid of it in potatoes?

With great difficulty growing vegetables on their land, how many people experience frustration while collecting spoiled and unsuitable crop.

The main reason for this is all sorts of pests living in the ground.

One of the central places among them belongs wireworm. How to destroy the wireworm?

Total information

What does the wire look like? This type of pest is grub beetle larva.

Wire Beetle Beetle Photo:

Its name was justified due to the specific appearance similar to wire. His body is covered with a thick and very strong shell, which is yellow or pale pink.

The length of an adult Drotyanka does not exceed 2.5 cm (with the appearance of eggs, their body reaches a length of only 1.5 mm). It grows rather slowly — over the year it grows no more than 0.7 cm.

Perfectly tolerates all weather conditions, therefore even strong winter frosts she is not afraid. The lifespan of one individual is a maximum of 5 years.

Living in a shallow depth of soil, a worm wireworm causes irreparable harm so many cultivated plants: potatoes, onions, cabbage, carrots, beets, lettuce, cucumbers, radish and daikon.

What makes the wire from? Before you think about how to deal with wireworm beetle larva, you need to know the main reasons for its appearance in the earth:

  • on the land very many weeds;
  • favorite wireworm treats are considered wheatgrass and thistle roots;
  • vegetables planted too close to each otherthat creates favorable conditions for the development and reproduction of larvae;
  • ground constantly raw;
  • the soil has a high level acidity;
  • land clay and heavy.
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Wirewrap on potatoes

Among all the root vegetables in the garden Drotyanka likes to concentrate in areas of potato growing.

Wireworm larvae photos in potatoes:

In the cool season, it lives at great depths, but with the onset of spring heat rises almost to the very surface of the soil.

That is why, since the planting of the tubers, they become vulnerable for wireworm beetle.

He bites into the rind of the root, penetrating deep into it, as seen in the photo. At the same time outside the potatoes remain visible and unpleasant tracesresembling the extinction of the external tissues of the plant.

In addition, inside the potato begins the destructive process of rot and spoilage, which can lead to full rotting of the fetus. The larvae of the click beetle also feed on young tubers, thereby destroying virtually the entire crop of potatoes.

How to get rid?

How to get rid of the wireworm in the ground? Having found in the garden at least one individual Drotyanka, efforts must be made immediately to destroy itbecause without her fellows she will definitely not climb.

Help: Some click beetles lay eggs into the ground, of which there is a minimum 150 larvae.

Drotyanka — the fight against it should be comprehensive. Consider the basic methods of struggle, which are effective both in the potato field and in non-planted land:

  • plant in a country plot legumesthat are considered unacceptable for Drotyanka: peas, beans, chickpeas, beans and soybeans;
  • in the places of greatest accumulation of this pest it is recommended to sow mustard, clover, alfalfa, spring rape or buckwheat;
  • manually choose carefully from the roots of wheatgrass, sow thistle and rooster millet;
  • don’t plant the ground too thick. In that case, if the area is small, and you need to plant a lot of things, often weed the inter-row spans, which will allow the soil to subside and rid it of weeds;
  • after completing the weeding, do not leave weeds, roots or their old tops;
  • try to make the ground less acid. To do this, it is necessary during the planting of vegetables, in the grooves to pour ashes, crushed egg shells, lime and chalk;
  • between potatoes, onions and carrots to plant marigoldwhich during their flowering emit an unpleasant smell for the larvae of the click beetle that frighten them away;
  • in mid-autumn (October), deeply by hand dig up the garden. Important! Depth should not be less than 20 cmthat will raise the wire from the ground and turn it to the surface. The cold earth will make it freeze;
  • late spring or early summer loosen the earth, which will raise the beetle eggs to the ground surface. Under the influence of the bright and hot sun, they will die.

In addition, it should be said about the two existing measures to combat Drotyankathat have no less positive effect on the condition of the soil:

  • chemical — aimed at introducing chemicals into the soil that can destroy the wireworm;
  • agrotechnical — The meaning of this method is that the land is enriched with nitrogenous fertilizers containing ammonium. You can also use ordinary ammonia water, which sprinkled on the garden.

How to deal with the wireworm, consider in the following paragraphs.


Wires in the potato: how to get rid? What to withdraw? The best and fastest way to destroy the larvae of the click beetle is to use special chemicals. Let us give examples of some of them, which are very popular among consumers.


How to get a wireworm using this tool? Means against wireworm «Prestige» perfectly relieves land from Drotyanka.

So, the drug is diluted in accordance with the instructions (10 ml of suspension is added to 10 liters of water) and immediately poured into the well before planting potatoes or other vegetables.

If you plan to treat the area with strawberries or flowers, use the same solution, which for convenience is poured into a watering can.

The protective effect of this tool lasts up to 50 days, after which it is completely dissolved in the soil and does not cause any harm to the human body.


Means from wireworm Taboo is suitable for processing potato tubers and seeds of other vegetables. Used by only during landing. This is very economical the agent, because its small amount (10 ml of the suspension is diluted in 1.5 liters of water) is enough to spray 125 kg of the root crop.

At the same time, the tubers are laid out on a flat surface and treated with the prepared solution. After waiting complete drying of the drug, vegetables are planted in the ground. Not dangerous to humans, because after 2 months after treatment, completely dissolved in the soil.


Suitable for spraying the upper layers of the soil, and during planting. Divorced in accordance with the instructions: 4 g dissolved in 10 l of water. Such a liquid is poured over the holes dug under the potatoes. 10 liters of solution is enough to treat 100 m of land.

About the proper use of chemicals to combat wireworm in this video:

Folk methods

How to kill the wireworm? Consider the popular methods of struggle. If you do not want to bring chemicals into the earth, but still do your best to get rid of the Dreshyanka, use traditional methods that also give good results in the fight against this pest.

Here are some of them:

  • a few weeks before the planting period, holes are dug in the soil, representing larvae traps click beetles. They put the halves of potatoes or whole tubers, which are buried on top of the earth. In the field of traps set beacons. After a few days, the affected root crop is dug out and burned, and in a hole lay a new bait;
  • on the infected areas put buckwheat, mustard and legumeswhich are buried in the ground over time as a fertilizer and to scare the Dreshyanka;
  • two weeks before planting, siderats are sown every 65 cm in a well-known manner: barley or corn (not less than 20 grains in each). When the seeds rise high above the ground, they are dug up and burned, because there will be a lot of wireworm in them;
  • in the garden put a large plastic wrap and pour it with sugar syrup, on the smell of which fly beetles fly. So they can be easily destroyed, not allowing the laying of eggs;
  • in late April, around the site to make the wells, which put dry grass or boards. Cover the pits on top with boards or slate to keep them under heat. After a few days, get the bait with the Dagester and to burn their;
  • in the shaded areas of the garden at the very neck bury liter cans with fresh vegetables. Every three days, check traps and get pests from there;
  • once in 5 years you can dig a garden in the spring and sprinkle it salt;
  • during planting potatoes in each well put a handful of onion peel.

As many as three popular methods of dealing with wireworm in this video:

Choosing a suitable way to destroy the wireworm, don’t give up in the process of combating it, and then every year you will be able to collect large yields of beautiful and tasty potatoes, as well as other healthy vegetables.

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