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Sweet Potato Wireworm.jpg
A Wireworm in a sweet potato tuber
Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Superfamily: Elateroidea
Family: Elateridae
Click beetle

Typical click beetle
Snapping beetle
Spring beetle


Wireworms are the larvae of the click beetle or typical click beetle (Elateridae) to distinguish them from the related Cerophytidae and Eucnemidae. Also known as elaters, snapping beetles, spring beetles or skipjacks.

They have been found to be more prevalent on south-facing cultivated land.[1]

Symptoms[edit | edit source]

Wireworms tunnel into potato tubers leaving small, round holes on the surface and narrow tunnels running into the tuber flesh. Superficially, wireworm damage may be confused with slug damage as slug entrance holes are very similar to those made by wireworms. However, slugs often hollow out large cavities within the tuber flesh, whereas wireworms do not.[1] Wireworms should not affect potato yield, but will cause a serious loss of tuber quality.

Treatment[edit | edit source]


Prevention[edit | edit source]

Wireworm populations are drastically reduced if the soil is cultivated between sowings.[1] This damages wireworms in the process as well as exposing them to bird predators.[1]. Growing beans or peas in previously infested soils also proves to reduce populations as they appear tolerant.[1]

Examples[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. a b c d e Parker, B. (2005). "Expert Guide: Wireworm". Bayer CropScience Ltd.
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