Don’t let wireworms chew up stand

Wireworms are long, slender, brown, shiny insects aptly named since they look downright “wiry.” They’re more of a concern at earlier planting dates, notes Dan Ritter, Newton County Extension ag educator. Ritter is also a Certified Crop Adviser.

Jesse Grogan, also a CCA, adds that wireworms show up most often either in fields returned from the Conservation Reserve Program or in minimum-till fields with grass weed pressure. Based in Lafayette, Grogan works for LG Seeds.

The best way to sample for wireworms is with solar bait stations. Install them about three weeks before you intend to plant. Dig a hole 4 inches wide and 9 inches deep, Grogan advises. Place half a cup of corn/wheat mixture in the hole. Cover with loose dirt and black plastic.

Dig up stations after two weeks. If you find more than one wireworm on average, line up insecticide applications.

Key Points

• Cool, wet spots are the most likely targets for wireworms.

• Once present in a field, wireworms begin a four- to- seven-year life cycle.

• Bait traps two to three weeks before planting best way to scout for wireworms.

This article published in the March, 2010 edition of INDIANA PRAIRIE FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2010.