Keep Eyes And Ears Open For Corn Wireworms

Photo by Lyle Buss
Photo by Lyle Buss

Crops Affected

The corn wireworm (Melanotus communis) is a major pest of corn, sugarcane, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. It also may attack carrots, cucurbits, beans, peppers, and celery, as well as various grasses and flowers.

Identification

Wireworms attack mostly seeds, roots, shoots, and crowns of plants below the soil surface. In corn, damage appears in the form of hollowed out corn kernels, leaving only the seed coat. In later stages, larvae also may cut off small roots or tunnel into underground portions of the root or stems of young corn plants. The damage can be recognized in a field by the presence of gaps in rows or stunted or wilted plants with whorl leaves wilting first.

In potatoes, corn wireworms destroy planted seeds, tunnel into plant stems, and bore into roots and crown tissues. They feed on the seed pieces, causing weak stands. But the major yield losses are due to tunneling into tubers, leading to rotting.

The adults are commonly known as “click beetles.” The larvae are hard-bodied and darker colored than most maggots or grubs. They are glossy and yellow-brown, with a wire-like hard, cylindrical, jointed body ranging from 0.51 to 1.5 inches. First-instar larvae are pale yellow and change to reddish brown in later stages. First-year larvae do not cause significant damage.

Survival And Spread

Overwintering adult beetles are nocturnal and emerge from soil in late March or early April. They are most numerous in Florida during April to August, with peak oviposition in May.
Mated females prefer weedy or grassy fields for egg laying. The eggs are tiny and are usually laid in batches of 50 to 130. The larvae develop throughout the summer and overwinter as second-instar larvae in the soil. Most continue to develop over the next five years and undergo molting once or twice each year, but some larvae develop fully in three years. The larvae pupate in the soil for two weeks before emerging as adults. This is the only stage of wireworms that is found above ground.

Management Methods

Scouting of wireworms is very important for its management and it can be achieved by using bait traps. Fields with high wireworm densities in the past tend to retain populations over the years. Low-lying areas and high organic matter also promote wireworm populations.
Few predators and parasitoids are reported for biological control of wireworms. Pre-plant disking and summer plowing of fallow fields might reduce populations but does not prevent Melanotus communis from reaching economically damaging levels. Planting rice or fallow field flooding may eliminate the need to use a soil insecticide the following season.

No insecticides are available for wireworm control once the crop is planted. Preplant broadcasting and furrow application of soil insecticides are commonly used as a preventative measure. Newer insecticides provide effective wireworm control with less environmental impact and fewer potential human safety concerns compared to organophosphates. Consult UF/IFAS recommendations for currently labeled insecticides for wireworm control in Florida vegetables.

Topics: , ,

Leave a Reply

Crop Protection Stories
Disease ControlNew Fungicide For Wide Range Of Fruits, Vegetables In California And Florida
April 21, 2015
FMC officially enters biological marketplace with first sales of Fracture fungicide. Read More
Gala green tip apple bloom
Apples & PearsApple Scab Spores Begin To Emerge In Pennsylvania
April 14, 2015
Now is a good time to apply copper sprays to protect trees. Read More
Crop ProtectionMore Help Needed To Track Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs, Georgia Researchers Say
April 14, 2015
This pest, a problem in apples, tomatoes, and other fruit in the North, has recently moved into Georgia.    Read More
CucurbitsHow To Control Damaging Diseases In Melons
April 14, 2015
Some of the top diseases to watch for include Fusarium wilt, angular leaf spot, and powdery mildew. Read More
Disease ControlWebcast: Control High Tunnel Tomato Diseases
April 13, 2015
As part of a series of free educational webcasts on The Plant Management Network, a nonprofit online resource for researchers, Read More
Crop ProtectionIR-4 Announces Pest Management Solutions Workshop
April 8, 2015
The IR-4 Project announced their first Global Minor Use Priority Setting Workshop Sept. 20-22 in Chicago, IL. Read More
NutsPart 1: Spring Weed Management Tips For Almonds
April 8, 2015
Avoid common weed management mistakes to ensure optimum weed control in the orchard. Read More
The Latest
Crop ProtectionBrandt Adds Zonix Biofungicide To Portfolio
April 21, 2015
Brandt, a manufacturer of agricultural specialty products, has added Zonix biofungicide to its line of organic and sustainable products. Zonix, manufactured Read More
Crop ProtectionMore Help Needed To Track Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs, …
April 14, 2015
This pest, a problem in apples, tomatoes, and other fruit in the North, has recently moved into Georgia.    Read More
Crop ProtectionIR-4 Announces Pest Management Solutions Workshop
April 8, 2015
The IR-4 Project announced their first Global Minor Use Priority Setting Workshop Sept. 20-22 in Chicago, IL. Read More
CitrusEPA Says It Is Unlikely To Approve New Neonicotinoid Ou…
April 3, 2015
The agency is waiting until new bee data has been submitted and pollinator risk assessments are complete. Read More
Giant African Land Snail
CitrusFlorida To Get $7.3 Million To Fight Agricultural Pests…
March 19, 2015
Federal Farm Bill funding will bolster surveillance, detection, and identification of invasive threats to crops. Read More
Crop ProtectionNew Fungicide, Orondis, Announced By Syngenta
March 18, 2015
The fungicide provides protection against late blight, downy mildews, and Phytophthora root and stem blights. Read More
Crop ProtectionNimitz Nematicide Receives Registration In California
March 16, 2015
The product is now approved in California for use on a variety of vegetable crops. Read More
Crop ProtectionNufarm Announces Two New Fungicide Registrations For Sp…
March 13, 2015
Both 3336 F and EG fungicides are now registered for use on greenhouse vegetables and backyard fruit. Read More
Crop ProtectionStudy Shows Plants Can Tell Difference Between Attackin…
March 9, 2015
Scientists at the University of Missouri make a discovery that will allow plant breeders to target insect species when developing crops. Read More
Biocontrols 2015 Conference
CitrusGrowers Go In-Depth At Biocontrols 2015 Conference &…
March 9, 2015
The first-of-its-kind event brought growers, researchers, regulators, and suppliers together for a two-day discussion on the latest biocontrols tools and technologies. Read More
Crop ProtectionSurvey Shows Growers Seek New Strategies To Control Thr…
March 4, 2015
Growers surveyed at the 2015 Southeast Regional Fruit And Vegetable Conference list thrips as major pest concern, and are looking for new technologies to combat pests. Read More
Apples & PearsNew Plant Growth Regulator Use Expanded
February 26, 2015
Ten more states grant registrations for Fine Americas’ new Kudos PGR. Read More
CitrusBiocontrols 2015: Exhibition Sneak Preview
February 25, 2015
We take a look inside the exhibit hall at the Biocontrols 2015 Conference & Tradeshow. Read More
CitrusNew App Helps Identify Insects, Diseases, And Nutrient …
February 24, 2015
Spensa Technologies launches app that helps growers take control of pests and improve soil nutrients. Read More
CitrusCompanion Biological Fungicide Now OMRI Listed
February 19, 2015
The biological fungicide from Growth Products is now registered for use in organic production. Read More
Crop ProtectionFMC Launches Biological Fungicide With New Mode Of Acti…
February 18, 2015
The broad spectrum fungicide, Fracture, is labeled for prevention and control of powdery mildew, botrytis, and brown rot blossom blight. Read More
David Holden
CitrusBiopesticides, Biostimulants Show Results In Fruits And…
February 18, 2015
From biostimulants in celery and avocado to biopesticides in citrus and strawberries, consultant David Holden conducts in-the-field research that attests to the effectiveness of biocontrols. Read More
Crop ProtectionAt Paramount Farming, Mating Disruption Pays Off
February 10, 2015
To say Brad Higbee is an expert in mating disruption, the use of pheromones to confuse target pests and reduce Read More