Biology and Identification

Wireworm Biology

Wireworms, the larval stages of click beetles, have been gaining momentum as soil pests that damage a wide variety of field and vegetable crops across North America. There is currently a deficit of knowledge regarding their basic distribution and biology in field crops, and there are few effective IPM practices available to producers. At present the only conventional options for wireworm control are insecticidal seed treatments, which seldom provide adequate protection. The following is a summary of the few well known species.

Adults usually emerge from pupal chambers in the soil in the early to late spring, and begin mating. Eggs are usually laid a few weeks after emergence, which is often early summer. The newly hatched wireworms then begin feeding. The life cycle has varied lengths. Some species pupate at the end of one year, with adults overwintering in the pupal chambers, while others take longer than five years to pupate. The typical time from egg to breeding adult is two to three years. It should also be noted that some species overwinter as mature larvae and pupate in the spring, with egg-laying occurring in late summer. However, these species are rarely of economic importance.

Species which have been studied in depth include Agriotes mancus, Selatosomus (=Ctenicera, part) destructor, Aeolus mellilus, and Limonius canus.