wire worms - Knowledgebase Question

Snohomish, Wa
Question by ngill3
October 1, 2009
I grew potatoes in a raised bed filled with tio soil and compost. My husband grew red clover to keep weeds down, then rototilled into soil. We found wire worms in the potato section of that bed. How do I get rid of them without using dangerous chemical? Will they affect other vegetables? Thanks.


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Answer from NGA
October 1, 2009

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I don't want to point fingers, but there is a relationship between red clover and wire worms. In organic gardens it is suggested you avoid planting potatoes in fields immediately following clover, grass, or weedy alfalfa. Wireworms are the soil-dwelling larvae of click beetles and, sadly, they take from 2-5 years to complete their lifecycle. So you can expect some to still be in your veggie garden soil for the next few years. To my knowledge there are no organic controls but you can discourage the pests by not planting root crops such as potatoes, carrots, turnips, etc. Snohomish County Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners can help with additional control suggestions. Contact them at 600 128th Street SE, Everett, WA 98208, 425-338-2400.

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