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Methods of dealing with wireworm in potato field

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Wireworms, eating potato tubers, significantly reduce the qualitative and quantitative characteristics of the crop. At the same time, they live in the ground, so it is sometimes difficult to notice the threat, and the damage done is noticeable only when excavated. To avoid this, you need to know how to get rid of the wireworm on the potato plot. Today, for this there are many methods of the most diverse principle of action.

Wireman - who is he?

Although the wireworm looks like a golden or brown worm, in reality it is a larva of click beetles belonging to the family Elateridae. There are 400 genera around the world. On the territory of the former Soviet Union, the larvae of beetles from the genera Agriotes and Selatosomus cause damage to agricultural plantings. Also in the south of the European part there are Melanotus nutcrackers. Less commonly, representatives of the genera Athous and Limonius cause harm. The length of the larvae of worms is usually from 1 to 4, 5 cm.

The body of the larvae is covered with hard shell, which is their well-recognized feature. Crush the wireworm with your fingers - not an easy task

The development of the nutcracker lasts about 5 years, and of them up to 4 years the beetle remains in the larvae stage. After the first year of life he needs a large amount of food. The “favorite treat” of a garden pest is the root systems of some plants and starch-rich potato tubers.

The damage he brings to potatoes

Potatoes damaged by the wireworm are far behind in growth. The larvae not only suck nutrients and juices from the tubers, but also cause them serious mechanical damage. They, in turn, are a kind of "entrance gate" for pathogenic microorganisms. For example, for fungi and bacteria. Therefore, tubers are affected by the putrefactive process. All this reduces the consumer characteristics of the future crop.

Agronomists say that the wireworms cause the potato plantings no less damage than the main enemy of the culture - the Colorado potato beetle. But if the latter is easy to identify and destroy, because he and his larvae infect the aboveground part of the plants, the golden worms eat the potatoes in the soil, and it is more difficult to deal with them. How to prevent the appearance of wireworms in potatoes and how to get rid of it on your site?

Agrotechnical measures against wireworms

Agrotechnical methods of dealing with wireworms are actions that reduce the number of larvae in the area without the use of special tools and chemicals. These measures include:

    Deep seasonal digging in the spring before planting and in the fall after harvesting potatoes. At the same time, the depth of cultivation of the soil should be about 25–30 cm. In the process of digging, one must carefully select from the land of larvae, pupae, and adult clickers. It will also be useful to remove weed rhizomes. Especially wireworms love to try common wheat grass and willow tea. Therefore, if these plants are on the site, due attention should be paid to digging.

Tillage in the spring months contributes to the death of the newly laid egg beetle eggs under the influence of the bright rays of the sun, and in the fall - as a result of frost.

  • Competent crop rotation. This method is particularly relevant in the cultivation of potatoes in areas of large area, when it is not possible to dig it well. If you constantly plant potatoes in the same place, the wireworms will choose a plot with a sufficient amount of feed, and their livestock will increase annually. Therefore, cultures need to be replaced periodically. For example, after 2 years of potato cultivation, sow the area under it with legumes: beans, peas. Wireworms do not tolerate substances that are part of these plants, and leave the territory. You can also use buckwheat, lupine, spring rape.
  • "Abstraction". The fight with the wireworm at the potato site includes planting between the rows of lettuce. Its juicy roots really like the wireworm. Most likely, he will switch from tubers to them, and the harvest will suffer less.
  • Watering. One of the reasons forcing the larvae to actively damage the potato tubers is the search for moisture. Therefore, in dry weather, they cause more damage to landings. The method of counteraction is the abundant moisture of the soil during the absence of rain. This will benefit agricultural crops as well.
  • Regular weeding and lack of thickening of weeds next to potatoes. The larvae concentrate in the places of the plexus of roots. Therefore, it is not recommended to plant potatoes next to untreated areas or lawns. If there is untapped soil nearby, then it is necessary to create a trench, the width of which should be 80-100 cm. Landings should be weeded as far as possible.
  • Fighting wireworm in a potato plot is easily combined with soil care.

    Reduced soil acidity

    Another agricultural method of reducing the number of larvae is the liming of acid soils and the reduction of their acidity. This will scare away the pest and reduce the damage it causes. It is not recommended to use lime from the wireworm in areas intended for the cultivation of potatoes. This substance reduces the plant's immunity to scab - a common culture disease. Therefore, it is better to take chalk, egg shells or dolomite flour.

    Another simple remedy available to every gardener and effectively reducing the acidity of the soil is ordinary wood ash. It is added to the ground when plowing, digging, planting tubers in the hole. Good results are shown by the introduction of ash left over from burning potato tops and the green part of sunflower after drying.

    Wood ash sold in garden stores, and you can cook it yourself


    If leguminous plants are removed from the site after harvest, the green manure is usually buried in the ground. Lupine, vetch, alfalfa are effective against the larvae of the click beetle. Most effective as a siderata from the wireworm mustard. It consists of alkaloids, destructive for the larvae.

    White mustard is a popular siderat, intensively growing and not demanding to conditions.

    Often, the owners of potato plantations planted tubers in one half of the territory, and green fertilizers on the other, and vice versa for the next season. But this method has a significant drawback: 50% of the soil is idle annually. Planting siderats after harvesting early ripe varieties will be the way out. Until the autumn cold, green fertilizers usually have enough time to grow.

    Chemical control methods

    The chemical industry offers a large list of drugs from the wireworm. An attentive gardener who is concerned about the quality of the crop should use them carefully and in full accordance with the instructions in order to avoid the accumulation of toxic substances in the tubers. With proper use of these tools are safe, and the potatoes will not bring harm to health by eating.

    Before plowing or digging the area make insecticides in the form of granules. You can combine the fight with the wireworm and fertilizer soil. For this you need:

    1. Prepare a solution of one of the pesticides (“Actellic” - 15 ml, “Decis Extra” - 4 ml, “Karate” - 1 ml ”) in 80 ml of water and 0.2 l of acetone, mix all the ingredients well.
    2. Take 5 kg of superphosphate and distribute it in a thin layer (you can lay a thin film on the ground).
    3. Spray the granules evenly with the solution.
    4. After this superphosphate, moistened with a solution of pesticides, should be dried in the shade.

    Also at the time of planting, you can shed the soil with a solution of potassium permanganate (5 g per 10 liters of water) 0.5 liters per well. This tool not only scares the wireworms, but also has an antibacterial effect on the ground, which will further protect the planting from possible diseases.

    Another means that helps fight against the larvae of the click beetle and at the same time fertilize the soil - these are drugs with a nitrogen content:

    • ammonium sulfate (30 g per 1 m 2),
    • ammonium chloride (30 g per 1 m 2),
    • ammonium nitrate (20 g per 1 m 2).

    Other wireworm products:

    1. Aktara. A solution of this tool is sprayed on the tubers of potatoes before planting. When they are embedded, dry powder can be added to the wells. Experienced gardeners speak well of the use of "Aktar", which is effective against many pests.
    2. “Prestige” is similar in its action and technology of use with Aktar.
    3. "Basudin" has a stronger effect, but it is toxic to humans and animals. Therefore, it is advisable to use it only in case of extensive defeat of potato plantings with wireworms with the ineffectiveness of Aktara and other methods of pest control. The active ingredient is diazonin. Consumption of the drug per 10 m 2 - 15 g.
    4. Such means as “Thunder”, “Stormbroi-2”, “Medvetoks-U”, and “Pochin” also contain diazonin and are dangerous for humans, but produce a powerful and prolonged effect.

    Any chemicals against garden pests should be used while taking precautions and following the instructions carefully. It necessarily comes with every drug.

    Biological preparations

    The biological method of combating agricultural pests is intentional sharing on the planting of other organisms that destroy them but do not harm the cultivated plants. Nemabact is effective against wireworm. It is a powder containing microscopic nematode worms. It enters into symbiosis with soil bacteria. In the absence of wireworms, they are inactive, but when a pest appears, the bacteria invade the body and eat it from the inside. After the enemy is eliminated, the nematodes move to a new victim.

    Folk remedies

    Some gardeners are afraid to use chemicals on their land for fear of toxic effects on planting and harvest. In this case, folk remedies from wireworms will come to the rescue:

    1. Infusion of nettle: 500 g of green raw materials are crushed and kept in 10 liters of water for 12 hours.
    2. Infusion of dandelions: cooking scheme is similar, only need 200 g of plants.
    3. Infusion of celandine: 100 g per 10 liters.
    4. Onion Husk: It is added a handful to each well when planting potatoes.
    5. The egg shell is evenly distributed over the soil surface.
    6. Planting next to marigold potatoes or calendula will scare away the larvae and other pest plantations.
    7. The salt from the wireworm, like the eggshells, is scattered over the soil. It is advisable to do this before the rain so that the solution penetrates the ground to the potato tubers.

    Watering plantings infusions of plants need to be done three times. Between treatments should take 7-10 days.

    Barley, wheat, corn, and rye from the wireworm can be used as a crop to bait a pest. To do this, seeds of cereals are sown on the site where the potatoes will be planted, in early spring, 2 weeks before planting the tubers. During this time, the grains will have time to germinate and become a tasty prey for hungry larvae and beetle beetles. It is enough to make rows, the distance between which will be about 60 cm. After 14 days, they dig up the earth, simultaneously destroying the worms located around the roots of the shoots.

    To enhance the effect, grain seeds are pretreated with “Decis” or “Karate” chemicals. This will destroy all the larvae that will feed on the germs of cereals. Term removal of funds from the ground is a month, so the future crop of chemicals are not threatened.

    Another type of bait is potato pieces, beets, or carrots dug into the ground to a depth of 5 to 15 cm. The places of their incorporation into the soil are marked with rods stuck into the ground. After a few days it remains to get the bait and destroy the wireworm in boiling water or by burning. To facilitate the work, you can plant pieces of roots on the rod or even on the fishing line. After 3-4 days, simply pull out the "catch" and kill the worms.

    Making the simplest bait is easy

    Wireworm larvae eat chickens and other poultry with appetite. This is true for those who keep them in their household.

    Another improvement to this method involves the use of glass jars. They are driven into the ground to the neck, and they put all the same pieces of root crops in them. You need to choose a shady place on the site, because the wireworms are afraid of direct sunlight. Every 2-3 days the bait should be checked and destroy any pests. It is necessary not to forget to replace root vegetables with new ones or to cut away the weathered side. Old lures do not seem attractive to wireworms.

    Preventive measures

    In order to forget about the problem of potato tuber damage by larvae of a click beetle, it is important not only to use agents from wireworms, but also to take preventive measures every season. This will protect against the appearance of the pest on the site.

    Prevention includes:

    • deep digging in spring and autumn,
    • the soil burst in May and June, as a result of which the beetle's eggs will be on the surface and will be burned by the sun,
    • timely destruction of weeds,
    • regular cleaning of the territory from plant and household garbage.

    If you listen to these recommendations, the risk of damage to the potato wireworm is significantly reduced.

    To achieve the desired result is easier if you combine different methods. An integrated approach to solving the problem of the presence of the larvae of the beetle beetle on the plot will allow at the end of the season to get an abundant and tasty crop of potatoes without damage.

    The depth depends on the timing of the bait layout. If it is still cold, then it is possible to a depth of 15 cm, and if it is warmer and the earth warms up, then it can be higher. In any case, if the garden has nothing to eat, then the wireworms will crawl to the bait.

    Be sure to check these places in order to check the baits from time to time (every 1-3 days) and destroy the wireworms gathered in them. Ash should not be added to the bait, otherwise they will not crawl there.

    It is better to start making such baits long before planting the cultivated plants (1-2 weeks before planting). You can continue to place bait during the time when seedlings are planted or seeds are sown.

    Since click beetles and their larvae love wheat grass, you need to get rid of this weed in the garden beds. How to do this will tell in the next article. However, getting rid of the wheatgrass is only part of the fight against the wireworm.

    It is believed that the wire (and the wheat grass too) does not like the neighborhood of dahlias. Well, try to plant a few bushes in flowerbeds, for example. About species of dahlias can read here.

    Sowing rye against the wireworm is questionable. Some believe that it helps to get rid of them, but in fact it attracts these larvae to itself more. You can use it as a bait and just pull out the plants along with the root, where there will most likely be a lot of wireworm. But I would hardly bother, but what you want.

    In addition, rye takes on a lot of moisture, which can lead to a decrease in yield of other crops. It is believed that the wireworm lives exclusively in the soil and does not climb to the surface by itself. This is what gardeners use natural farming for growing potatoes on virgin soil.

    What are they doing? When planting, they do not bury potatoes, but only lay them on the surface. Then fall asleep with straw and other mulch (a very thick layer). Due to this, the potato gives a good harvest, and the wireworms remain in the ground. Personally, I have not tried this method, but there is common sense in such actions.

    And if you throw 1-2 seeds of black beans next to the potato (they are low and do not require tying to the support), and add some ash, then the chance of success will increase significantly.

    Some summer residents make traps for the beetles themselves, collect them in jars and then destroy them. Someone crushes all dark and black beetles in a row. BUT, are they sure that all these bugs are harmful? Maybe among them a lot of useful creatures? By the way, the ground beetle is also dark ...

    But those who use chemicals, I can only sympathize. Such people probably have a lot of sores, are spent first on chemistry for the garden, and then on chemistry for the treatment of diseases, then again on chemistry for the garden, and then again on medicines for themselves, their children and grandchildren.

    Such people have no joy, their life is a continuous struggle ... Unfortunately, such people are hard to convince and they don’t even want to associate their diseases with “vegetables and berries grown at home”. But fortunately, every year there are more and more thinking people and those who understand the fallacy of the "chemical" path. As you can see, the measures to combat wireworm varied.

    And now about preventive methods:

    DO NOT CARRY THE EARTH FROM OTHER PLOTS, otherwise you can bring along with it both the larvae of the pests and the seeds of various weeds. Also, do not abuse rotted manure (I keep silent about fresh water), as it makes the soil more acidic.

    Если таки хочется вырастить «запретные» культуры, тогда придется чуть больше уделить времени для ловушек.
    Что же, на сегодня все. Постаралась максимально полно рассказать о том, как избавиться от проволочника. Надеюсь, у меня получилось.

    Если есть вопросы — спрашивайте. Если знаете еще интересные методы, как бороться с проволочником, буду рада узнать о них. By the way, maybe you have an idea or knowledge about the benefits of wireworms and click beetles? I wish harmony in your gardens!

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