The next two weeks are a good time to scout for wireworms. Wireworm treatments after crop emergence are not available, but wireworms tend to persist in the soil for several years after they have established. Scouting now to identify infested fields informs seed treatments that may be required next spring season.
Wireworms are a soil insect pest that feed on seeds and the roots and stem of developing seedlings. They can infest many different crops but are most common in continuously cropped spring wheat fields. Look for thin patchy areas during stand development. Wireworms can be found by digging around the roots of symptomatic plants (cutworms can also cause stand thinning damage).
Attractive baits can be placed in the field to attract wireworms. Half a cup of grain can be placed in a foot stocking, soaked overnight to help with germination, and buried 6-8 inches deep in the field. The “bait bag” can be removed after the seed germinates in 7-14 days. Wireworms will be found in and around the bait trap.
MSU Ag Alerts – 2022