Wireworm as a caterpillar and as a beetleWireworm feeding can destroy corn seeds before they germinate, deform the roots of beets and carrots, and damage potato tubers.

Wireworms are the larvae of click beetles; the larvae have segmented bodies and a hard, shiny, reddish brown protective covering. Overwintering beetles emerge in spring and lay their eggs near the roots of grasses and other plants. Once the larvae hatch, they can live in the soil and feed on seeds, roots, bulbs and tubers for two to six years. Wireworms are most likely to be a problem in new gardens that were recently covered by sod. They are found throughout North America.

Prevention and Control

  • Wait to plant potatoes until the soil is warm.
  • If you keep chickens, give them access to wireworm-infested beds and they will eat up the pests.
  • Use pieces of raw potato as wireworm traps. Stick a wooden skewer through each piece of potato and bury the pieces 4 inches deep in infested beds. Check the traps every day or so and destroy the wireworms inside.
  • Keep your garden well weeded.
  • Cultivate the soil monthly in the fall to expose the larvae to predators.

Last updated: 03/18/2024