The wireworm is one of the most insidious pests that affect potato tubers. Until recently, little was said about fighting wireworms, paying particular attention to such an enemy of potatoes as the Colorado potato beetle. This led to the fact that the biology of the wireworm is studied very superficially, and, therefore, the means to combat it are ineffective. In this case, the harm from the wireworm on potatoes can, if not exceed, then surely equal the harm caused by the Colorado potato beetle, and the underground life makes its detection very problematic. But despite this, the fight against him should be carried out. Below we tell you about the wireworm on potatoes and how to prevent its occurrence.
Who is the wire, and what harm can he bring
At its core, the wire is not even an adult individual, but merely a larva of a click beetle. The click beetle is a harmless insect that feeds on leaves of cereal plants and does not cause any special harm. Its size is insignificant - the maximum length of its elongated calf will be about 2 cm. The color of an adult beetle can be dark brown, brown or deep purple. You can notice them in your garden or garden from early spring to mid-August.
During this time, the female of the click beetle lays about 200 eggs, of which later the larvae of the wireworm, also called wireworms, subsequently emerge. They got their name due to the hard, shiny wire-like body.
Unlike their parents, these voracious wireworm larvae can cause enormous damage to the garden. Before turning into a click beetle, wireworms live in the ground for 5 years, making deep ornate passages in it and devouring everything in their path.
In the first year of their life, the larvae are almost harmless. They are very small in size, so do not need a lot of food. But from 2 to 4 years of life, wireworms become a real threat, especially for potatoes. By this time, they already grow on average up to 2 - 3 cm in length and become similar to small worms with well segmented bodies. Together with the length of their body, their color changes: from light yellow to brown. At the same time, the older the wireworm larva, the firmer its body. Crush it will be quite difficult.
Tip! After the 3rd year of life you should not even try to push the wireworm larvae. It will be much easier to break them in half, cut with a knife or shovel.
Wire worms are extremely voracious and omnivorous. For them it is absolutely not important what to eat, the main thing is to eat. Most often they attack potatoes, but they may not get around other cultures, such as:
- rye and others.
They feed on absolutely everything, from a seed planted or a tuber to roots, shoots and even stems. Their life motto is everything you can get to. As a result of such vigorous larvae of the beetle beetle, a gardener can lose from 65% to 80% of the crop annually. These larvae hibernate beautifully in the soil, and with the arrival of spring, they take on new plants with new forces.
Signs of the presence of wireworms in potato beds
Potatoes for wireworm larvae are a favorite delicacy. They especially appreciate the potato tubers themselves, but do not shun roots and tops. It is rather difficult to notice the wireworm on potato crops, but there are still several signs that indicate its presence:
- Detection of single wilted potato bushes. The fact is that in the ground they move mostly vertically, going deeper into the soil by 1–2 meters. At the same time, they do not move farther than 20 cm from the place of their feeding to the tubers of potatoes. Such a feature of this pest allows it to eat only individual potato plants.
- Wireworm larvae can be found in the early digging of potatoes. The young potato tubers will have through narrow holes and dark depressions on the skin, through which the little faces move.
- Wireworm larvae can also be noticed when digging or loosening a potato bed. In summer, the wireworm moves in the upper layers of the soil at a depth of 5 to 10 cm.
Important! When a wireworm is found on potatoes, it can easily be confused with a useful ground beetle. A distinctive feature of the wireworm is a characteristic click made by the pest when turning over.
Preventive control measures against wireworms
As in the case of other pests, it is much easier to avoid the emergence of the wireworm larvae on potatoes than to fight them.
Preventive control of the wireworm larvae on potatoes includes a number of agrotechnical measures that contribute to the improvement of the entire site:
- Organization of crop rotation. Many gardeners mistakenly avoid crop rotation in their garden, considering it a waste of time and effort. In fact, crop rotation is very important both in terms of preventive control of diseases and pests, and in terms of improving the quality and quantity of the crop. More information about the rules of crop rotation can be found in the video:
- Cleaning of all root crops. In autumn harvesting it is very important to collect all the tubers of potatoes or other plants. In this case, the wireworm will be provided with a hungry wintering, which not all individuals can survive.
- Maintaining soil on the plot at a neutral level of acidity. Wireworm loves high acidity of the soil, so reducing its level will not do it good. Indicator plants will help determine soil acidity. If the field is actively growing horsetail, plantain or sorrel, then the soil has a very high acidity and it must be lime.
- Attraction to the site of birds and insects eating a click beetle and its larvae. These birds include starlings, wagtails, blackbirds, rooks and turtle doves; insects eat a click beetle and its offspring is loved by garden ground beetles. A birdhouse will help to attract the birds, but for the ground beetles it is necessary to create a refuge from small stones, sawdust or tree bark.
- Weed control. This is especially true for burdocks and wheat grass - they are practically “finished houses” for wireworm larvae.
In addition to these preventive control measures, there are some cultures, the landing of which deters the wireworm larvae from potatoes:
- Dahlias - the wireworm does not tolerate their smell, so it cannot be put on a potato garden bed surrounded by these beautiful flowers.
- Green mans - when rotting, they emit essential oils that will scare the wireworm. The wireworm does not particularly like mustard, rape, buckwheat, rape, and sweet clover of all the sidereal plants. They should be planted on a potato bed in the fall, after harvesting, or in the spring before planting. When the plants grow to a height of 10 cm, they need to mow and close up in the soil.
- Legumes - except for scaring wireworms, peas, beans and beans will enrich the soil with nitrogen, which is necessary for potatoes.
Wire Fighting Techniques
You can fight with wireworms on potatoes using folk remedies and chemical preparations. Of course, any chemistry will accumulate in the tubers of potatoes, so it would be preferable to use biologically based preparations or popular recipes.
Folk recipes in the fight against wireworm
There is nothing safer for a person than to process potatoes before planting from a wireworm using popular recipes. The following folk remedies and recipes are successfully used in the fight against wireworms on potatoes:
- Eggshell is probably the cheapest and most universal remedy of all the means of fighting wireworms on potatoes. Wireworms simply do not tolerate it. Chopped egg shells can be processed potato tubers before planting, it can be put into the hole when planting potatoes or lay on the perimeter of the potato beds.
Egg shells from wireworm larvae on potatoes can be replaced with onion or garlic husks.
- Infusions of dandelion or nettle. To combat the wireworm on potatoes, stir 500 grams of nettle tincture or 200 grams of dandelion tincture in 10 liters. The resulting infusion is necessary to process the wells before planting potatoes. In this case, such processing is carried out a week before planting potatoes every 2 days.
- Ammonium nitrate or ammonium sulfate. Both of these drugs are excellent for fighting wireworms with ammonia contained in their composition, which causes the larvae to migrate deeper into the ground, where they remain without food. Per 1 square meter should be made from 20 to 30 grams.
- Potassium permanganate solution is very effective in controlling wireworm larvae. They can shed holes before planting potatoes and process already grown bushes. As a rule, no more than 2 to 4 grams is taken per 10 liters of water.
With the help of folk remedies, you can not only fight the wireworm on potatoes, but also catch them. This is one of the few pests that perfectly fall for all kinds of traps. In the fight against the wireworm larvae on potatoes, the gardener can use the following bait:
- Old spoiled potatoes - for cooking traps, old potatoes should be soaked for a day in any insecticide and buried in different parts of the garden. In order to then seamlessly find all the potato traps, the place of instillation must be something noted. After 2 days, the potatoes with larvae inside need to dig and burn.
- Slices of potatoes or carrots - they must be put in a 0.5 liter glass jar and buried in the ground at the neck. Not only wireworm larvae, but also adult click beetles will come to such a treat. In order to get out of there, they could not, the neck must be covered with paper.
- Shoots of corn, barley, wheat or oats - in order to catch wireworm they need to plant a small amount of these crops 2 weeks before planting potatoes. Before planting potatoes, these plants are dug up along with the wireworm and burned. For greater efficiency, seeds can be treated with insecticide before planting.
Chemicals in the fight against wireworms
Apply chemicals only when planting potatoes with mid-season and late ripening. Early varieties of potatoes do not have time to remove all the chemistry of their tubers, and she will get a gardener.Important! All pest control chemicals on potatoes or other crops should be used only as instructed. When applying them to the gardener must be personal protective equipment.
Most often, the following drugs are used to combat the wireworm larvae on potatoes:
In addition to these drugs, in the fight against wireworm on potatoes, helps homemade composition. To prepare it, you need to take 5 kg of superphosphate in granules and scatter it in a thin layer on the film. After that, it is necessary to prepare a solution for its processing. To do this, you can take Decis in a dosage of 0.4 ml, Karate - 1 ml, Aktellik - 15 ml or Fastak - 2 ml. The drug selected from this list is added to a water-acetone solution prepared from 200 ml of acetone and 800 ml of water. The resulting solution must be sprayed superphosphate decomposed on film. After it dries, it should be scattered on potato beds. This amount is enough for 100 square meters.
In order for the fight against wireworm on potatoes to be successful, a systematic and comprehensive approach is needed. You can not just scatter eggshell everywhere or pickle potatoes with chemicals. Any control of such pests as the wire should start with the maintenance of the site and keeping it clean.