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How to Manage Pests

UC Pest Management Guidelines

Sugarbeet wireworm larvae.

Cole Crops


Scientific Names: Various species in the Elaterid Family

(Reviewed 6/07, updated 6/07)

In this Guideline:


Wireworms are the soil-dwelling larvae of click beetles. They are slender, cylindrical, usually yellowish and resemble mealworms.


Wireworms injure seedlings by feeding on roots or boring into stems. Damage is more common in spring planted crops where the soil has a high organic content, such as fields that have recently been in or adjacent to alfalfa, pasture, or uncontrolled weeds. Wireworms do not significantly damage older plants.


Soil fumigants and certain other pesticides kill wireworms, but special controls are seldom needed. Flooding a field for several weeks also reduces populations.


[UC Peer Reviewed]

UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Cole Crops
UC ANR Publication 3442
Insects and Mites
E. T. Natwick, UC Cooperative Extension, Imperial County
Acknowledgments for contributions to Insects and Mites:
W. J. Bentley, UC IPM Program, Kearney Agricultural Center, Parlier
W. E. Chaney, UC Cooperative Extension, Monterey County
N. C. Toscano, Entomology, UC Riverside

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