How to Manage Pests

UC Pest Management Guidelines

Cotton

Wireworms

Scientific Name: Limonius spp.

(Reviewed 5/13, updated 9/15, corrected 1/19)

In this Guideline:


Description of the Pests

Wireworms are the soil-dwelling larvae of click beetles. They resemble mealworms and are slender, elongate, yellowish to brown with smooth, tough skin. The body is usually cylindrical, but flat on the lower side. There are six short legs close together near the head, and the tip of the abdomen bears a flattened plate with a pair of short hooks.

Damage

Wireworms destroy germinating seeds and tiny seedlings. Often the wireworm will be found near the damaged or missing seed or plant. Even if the damage does not completely destroy the plant, the feeding wounds may predispose the plant to seedling diseases.

Management

Wireworms may be a problem following an alfalfa rotation or in fields that were previously pastures. Cultivat-ing, flooding, and dry fallowing can help reduce wireworm numbers.

[Precautions]

PUBLICATION

[UC Peer Reviewed]

UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Cotton
UC ANR Publication 3444

Insects and Mites

  • L. D. Godfrey, Entomology, UC Davis
  • P. B. Goodell, UC IPM Program and Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Parlier
  • E. T. Natwick, UC Cooperative Extension - Desert Research and Extension Center, Imperial County
  • D.R. Haviland, UC Cooperative Extension, Kern County and UC IPM Program
  • V. M. Barlow, UC Cooperative Extension, Riverside County and UC IPM Program
Acknowledgment for contributions to Insects and Mites:
  • E. E. Grafton-Cardwell, Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Parlier
  • N. C. Toscano, Entomology, UC Riverside

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