Who is a wireworm?
During the harvest, you probably came across potato tubers and root crops in which small (2-3 mm), but deep moves. Potatoes and carrots with such damage are poorly stored, since pathogens of bacterial and fungal infections easily penetrate through the damaged areas of tubers and root crops.
Sometimes, next to a damaged plant in the soil, one can also find the culprit: this is a wireworm – an elongated worm-like larva of a click beetle with hard covers of yellow or yellow-brown color. The wireworm, and the fight against it, can cause a lot of trouble.
An adult click beetle is small or medium in size with an oblong-flattened body, narrowed at the anterior and posterior ends. Clickers are easy to identify by the characteristic clicking sound that the beetles turn on their backs make.
In summer, females lay their eggs on the surface or in the topsoil. Hatching larvae feed on the underground parts of plants, especially damaging seedlings and seedlings of various crops, later moving on to large roots, rhizomes and emerging tubers and root crops. Larvae live in the soil for several years, reaching a length of 0.5 -3.0 centimeters, after which they pupate, and a month later beetles appear. It takes 3-5 years for the development of one generation of the pest, therefore, in a site with a large number of wireworms, it takes several years to defend against them.
The problem with wireworms and the fight against them arises in undeveloped areas with well-developed turf of perennial grasses, especially cereals. Such islands of meadow vegetation are a very attractive place for laying eggs by female click beetles. In areas with cultivated, organic-rich soil, the number of wireworms noticeably decreases over the years, and the plants themselves, grown on a good agricultural background, become more resistant to damage.
The pest prefers soils with a slightly acidic reaction, so the following measures give good results: liming or adding half a tablespoon of wood ash to the hole when planting potatoes.
How to protect yourself from a wireworm?
One of the most important measures to protect plants from wireworms is the fight against weeds, since after harvesting garden crops, it is the root system of weeds that remains their only source of nutrition. How to get rid of the wireworm if it has already appeared in the garden, what methods will help drive the pest out of the garden?
With the constant, long-term presence of wireworms in the garden plot and numerous damage to plants (4-8 pieces per square meter), on personal, household and subsidiary farms, control methods are allowed using bazudin (diazinon), a 5% granulate of which is applied when planting potatoes from calculation 30 grams for 10 square meters.
If you don’t want to be chemical, then try one of the popular pest control methods. In the spring, in the area where it is planned to grow especially valuable crops, bury large potato slices (4-5 per square meter) to a depth of 5-10 centimeters.
To facilitate the search, you can tie pieces of wire to them, the upper ends of which remain on the surface of the soil. After a day or two, the potatoes are dug up, and the caught pests must be destroyed. This method of getting rid of the wireworm is quite effective.
Germinating seeds of barley, oats, wheat or corn attract even better wireworms. These crops should be sown in rows in the spring, before sowing or planting cultivated crops (it is possible later – between the rows). Wireworms are chosen in the following way: bait plants are pulled out, which are sown again until the garden is freed from the pest. In irrigated areas, all baits can be used in any warm season. The application of ammonium nitrate or ammonium sulfate (20-30 grams per square meter) to the areas infected with wireworms, followed by feeding the plants with the same fertilizers in half the dose, creates unfavorable conditions for the reproduction of click beetles and helps fight wireworms.
Larvae molt 8 times during their life, that is, they have 9 instars. You can destroy young wireworms with a folk remedy – a solution of potassium permanganate (5 grams on the 10 liters water, 0.5 liters of solution per well).