The Q&A Archives: Radish worms

Question: What are the small white worms that get into radishes and turnips?

Answer: Sometimes wireworms cause problems in root crops. If, in addition to the worms, you find orange colored tunnels, then carrot rust fly larvae have been feeding on your radishes and turnips. Wireworms are the larvae of click beetles who lay their eggs near plants. When the eggs hatch the larvae feed on the underground parts of plants. The other pest, carrot rust fly, lay their eggs on or near the crown of root crops. The larvae then bore into the roots of carrots, radishes and turnips to feed. Both pests can cause real damage. Try planting your radishes in a different garden spot next year so they won't be victimized by pests that overwinter in the soil. Sometimes you can trap wireworms by placing pieces of cut potato in the soil near your crops. The potato will attract the worms and you can dig and dispose of the trap, placing fresh potato pieces in the soil every few weeks. You can foil the carrot rust fly adults by using a floating row cover over your crops to keep the flies from laying their eggs on the crowns of the plants.

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