Preventing and controlling wireworms

Wireworms are a common cotton pest which feed on germinating seeds and emerging seedlings. Two types of wireworms feed on cotton: true wireworms and false wireworms. True wireworms, commonly called click beetles, are members of the Elateridae family, while false wireworms, or darkling beetles, are from the Tenebrionidae family.

Overwintering larvae inflict the most damage as they become active in the spring. The larvae damage cotton by feeding on the root, hypocotyl (stem of the germinating seedling), and cotyledon (seed leaves) of plants before emerging from the soil. Root feeding can kill plants and reduce plant stand but usually results in stunting. Continue reading

University of Florida study helps farmers find best fields for sweet potatoes

Wireworms won’t dampen the spirits of Florida’s sweet potato growers, thanks to ongoing research by scientists at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences.

Wireworms took center stage in Florida after some major sweet potato growers converted fields previously dedicated to grain crops to the sweet potato crop. Some acreage was initiated by a farm that had actually relocated to Florida after leaving California because of prolonged drought, hopeful to take advantage of Florida’s warm weather, abundant water resources and sandy soil. Continue reading