Wireworms (Agriotes spp.)

Identification :

  • Wireworms commonly called wireworms are beetles including several species belonging to the genus Agriotesand the family of Elateridae.
  • The larvae reach 25mm in length and are orange / brown in color with a narrow, segmented body, biting jaws and 3 pairs of short legs behind the head.
  • Its integuments are strongly sclerotized, hence its name of “wireworm”.
  • Adult beetles are dark brown or black and are about 2 cm long.
  • When alarmed, adults can leap into the air by flexing the joint between the abdomen and thorax, creating a tension like a coil spring that, when released, catapults the insect into the air, emitting a dry noise.

Biology :

  • Adult females lay eggs in the soil in the spring.
  • The eggs hatch about 1 month later and the young larvae begin to feed on the organic matter in the soil.
  • This first instar is white and is 1 to 2 mm long. At this point, very little economic damage is done.
  • The larvae continue to grow by molting at the end of each instar and the complete life cycle can take up to 5 years.
  • Mature wireworms pupate underground for about 4 weeks, and new adults emerge in July or August and overwinter until the following spring when they lay their eggs.
  • At any time, a field can contain all stages of the beetle.

Symptoms :

  • Adults of wireworms are not harmful.
  • It is the larva, which is very polyphagous, which causes damage by attacking beets during the establishment phase, during which it cuts the rootlets.
  • This damage occurs mainly from emergence to the 4-6 leaf stage and can be extensive, including destruction of seedlings.

Control :

  • Chemical control using VYDATE 10G at a dose of 20 Kg / ha.


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