Click Beetles

by Daisy on 04/24/2013

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This is the Big Eyed Click Beetle, of the family Elateridae.

Handsome.  Unfortunately its larvae, wireworms, can be devastating to a potato crop and root crops like carrots.  Following the carbon dioxide released by the target plant it bores into them.  They’re very tough to get rid of, pesticide resistant, and provide a starter hole for further damage by slugs.

They also harm cereal crops, like corn and wheat.

I’ve never had a problem before, but since I saw this adult, I expect to see wireworms this year when I harvest the potatoes.  I’ve found a number of suggestions for reducing the damage/preventing infestations, some of which it’s too late for this season, since I’ve already planted my ‘taters, but I will remember them for next year.

  • Try not to plant potatoes where you had them last year, or where you recently had grass.
  • Till deeply and before planting and leave the bed for the wild birds to clean out the worms for a period of time.  Ducks or chickens would do a good job, too.
  • Plant in loose, friable soil, as opposed to heavy clay.
  • Plant several cut potatoes prior to planting time to act as a “trap” crop.  Go back in and remove the infested trap potatoes, then plant your actual crop.
  • Plant only whole potatoes as opposed to cut up pieces for your real crop.
  • Put coffee grounds in the trench, then plant potatoes.
  • Alternate dry and wet conditions in the soil to make conditions unfavorable for the worms.

If you’ve had experiences with wireworms or found good controls, please add them in the comments.



{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Cinnamon Vogue April 24, 2013 at 10:15 pm

My goodness that fella looks dangerous. If you want to try some Ceylon Cinnamon Oil we would love to send you a free bottle. We have never tried Cinnamon Oil for that purpose but would love to find out. If it does not work for these beetles, you can use it to get rid of black ants and aphids for sure. Just send us your shipping address and it will be there in no time. And if it works for beetles we want photos OK? 🙂

Caron April 25, 2013 at 5:06 am

Wow! Thank you !!!! This is great information.

Cynthia April 27, 2013 at 4:41 am

Haven’t seen anything that looks like this yet. Good tip about tilling and waiting a few days to plant. That’s gonna b hard to wait we all hav spring fever so bad!

Sharon April 27, 2013 at 6:20 am

I’ve never had trouble with these guys before…….and hope not to in the future either. I think that your suggestions for avoiding troubles are pretty much spot on. I have heard people say that they “don’t have room” to rotate their crops, but it really isn’t that hard……it’s not like you have to entirely flip flop things if you don’t want to. But if you are trying to garden with the least amount of chemicals that you can, rotation is one of the best ways. It not only helps cut down on repeated pest problems, fungus/mildew/blight issues, but the different crops take different stuff out of the ground, and put different back into it. The best way that I have heard it said is that you should rotate “leaf……..root…….fruit”. In other words what was a leave crop this year (lettuce, spinach, etc) should be planted as a root crop next year (potatoes, carrots, beets, etc), and then should be a fruit crop the next year (tomato, pepper, eggplant, etc).

Jo April 27, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Yikes!

Paige April 27, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Thanks for the timely post! I recently enlarged my garden to include a formerly grassy area, and have been considering whether or not to wait until next year to plant potatoes. If I decide to go ahead, I’ll try a grow bag–although that coffee grinds method would be a good excuse to make a few trips to Starbucks . 🙂

Peg April 27, 2013 at 3:31 pm

I dont know about Click Beetles, but live across the street from fields planted with wheat and milo. The wire worms are unbelievable around and even in my home. Yuck! I spoke with local pest mgmt. company, but received bad news. They told me there is not really anything they can do about them. I spray them with bug spray when I see them, but…..there is not enough spray to stop them I am afraid.

CinnamonVogue April 27, 2013 at 6:32 pm

Paige no need to buy any coffee. 🙂 If you ask them nicely StarBucks will give you their used Coffee grinds, which they throw away at the end of the day.

Melodae April 28, 2013 at 11:09 am

Diatomaceous earth will also get rid of the wireworms, and it’s safe — no poisons.

Kristina April 30, 2013 at 9:43 pm

Although I’ve been familiar with click beetles (adults) for some years, I didn’t know what wireworms are or what they look like. Having just Googled them. I see now that I’ve come across them digging around in my garden! I usually leave any critters alone if I don’t know for certain that they’re destructive; I know now!!! Thanks for this info!

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