Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Waging War on the Wireworm

Many moons ago, Colleen wrote about the initial surge of those pesky little wireworms in the hoop house. Well, they continue to turn up once in a while around the farm, evidenced by sad, drooping plants here and there. So, the fight continues...

A little info for those who don't know much about the wireworms. Our particular wireworm species are either Agriotis obscurus or Agriotes lineatus, both non-native, both a pain in the behind. Wireworms are the larvae stage of a click beetle, and stay in the larvae stage of the life cycle for 3 - 4 years, feasting on poor little plants. Once they become adult click beetles, they don't hurt plants.

I guess in some ways, we are not all that unlike the wireworm. We both like Yarrow. We both like Skeeter Farm. We both like plants. However, there is one all important difference. While we humans like to enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of the plants' labour, wireworms like to take plants well before their time. For this reason, we will forever be enemies.

Initial efforts to deal with the wireworm included negotiation (no luck) and the trusted sacrificial carrot tactic (very effective).

Well, this past week we stepped things up and took the fight to the wireworm with the enlistment of Beneficial Native Nematodes!!! Nematodes naturally occur in the soil and eat soil dwelling insects like larvae and grubs, leaving friendly earthworms and plants to go about their business. In effect, we have brought in some reinforcements to help fight the good fight. We'll keep you posted.

In Nematodes we trust.

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