Image of the City of Regina

Wireworm

Characteristics:

  • Larvae: Shiny, slender yellow or brown worms found at all times of the year in most types of soil. Wireworms prefer to eat grass, but will also eat germinating seeds, young seedlings, and root crops.
  • Adult: Larvae grow into Click beetles, named for the snapping sound their legs make when they right themselves after being turned upside-down. They are black or brown in color and have elongated bodies with rounded corners.

Identifying wireworm infestations:

  • Wilting and dying plants: As the worms feed, they bore into the underground part of the plant’s stem and begin feeding on its root. This action causes the plant to wither and die.
  • Larvae in your soil: To confirm the presence of larvae, dig out a core sample of soil from the affected area and sift the soil through a screen. The presence of many larvae may indicate an infestation.

IPM Toolkit:

  • Preventive tools:
    • Wireworms do not like dry soil or full sunlight; if possible, reduce watering to the area and expose the area to full sunlight.
  • Physical tools:
    • In the spring and early summer, kill wireworms found near the soil’s surface by using a spiking tool or special shoes. If using a spiking tool, ensure the spikes are at least 5 cm long. The number of wireworms killed is directly related to the number of spike holes you make.
  • Biological tools:
    • Various bird species will eat wireworms.
  • Least toxic chemical tools: Not applicable