Turnip Bugs - Knowledgebase Question

Salt Lake City, UT
Avatar for cewanne
Question by cewanne
January 17, 1998
I have planted turnips several times, but they always seem to have various degrees of damage done by some type of bug at the time I harvest them. Is there a way to avoid this problem and have better turnips?

Answer from NGA
January 17, 1998
One of the worst pests of turnips, carrots and rutabagas is the wire worm. It's the larvae of the click beetle, and the adult lays her eggs right next to the plant. After the eggs hatch the little worms motate toward root crops and eat their way around, leaving little rust colored trails.

There are a couple of things you can do to prevent this next year. Plant your turnips in another area of the garden so the beetles won't find them as easily, and try to plant your crop to avoid the time when wire worms are hatching. This is weather dependent, but generally they're most active June through September. If you plant your seeds a few weeks later than usual, you'll have a good chance of avoiding the wire worm population.

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