wire worms

Gail H
Gail H Posts: 359 ✭✭✭✭
edited November 2020 in Pest & Weed Problems/Solutions

I just saw something on MI Gardener about starting carrots. I figure if he's starting them already in Michigan, I should get moving here in South Jersey. My only problem is that our soil has wire worms. (That's what the farmers around here call them. I'm not sure of the exact species.)

Because of the wire worms, I have a difficult time growing carrots, beets, burdock, sweet potatoes and the like. The only year that I ever got good carrots was the year that I did straw bale gardening. It is nearly impossible to get organic straw and I worry that I would have persistent herbicides if I didn't use organic.

I am thinking of getting large plastic tubs to plant carrots in and using bagged soil, but that hardly seems sustainable and would be a lot of plastic.

Any suggestions?



  • Leediafastje
    Leediafastje Posts: 97 ✭✭✭

    There are several "How to grow carrots in containers" videos on youtube. Whatever you decide to use, hopefully you can use it every year for many years.

  • silvertipgrizz
    silvertipgrizz Posts: 1,990 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Gail H Wow I have no idea what a wire worm is or I would chime in like an expert ??? 🤔

  • Karin
    Karin Posts: 272 ✭✭✭

    There are some companion plants that discourage wire worms - I think growing onion with your carrots is one. Ok sorry, just checked and onions discourage carrot fly. Possibly the "worms" are the maggots of the carrot fly? I have read that mothballs crumbled into the soil where you plant your seed can help, also pungent herbs like rosemary and wormwood.

  • silvertipgrizz
    silvertipgrizz Posts: 1,990 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Gail H I found some links for you re the wire worm:

    It's been awhile since I've seen the guy teaching on this link but if he is the one I remember watching some vid's a time back, he is very interesting to watch on the tube and sure knows how to propagate basil and on and on...

    and one more:

    Thanks for bringing up this topic as I never heard of this pest in all the years I've been gardening. I hope something in these links is the answer you are looking for..

  • nksunshine27
    nksunshine27 Posts: 343 ✭✭✭

    @Gail H have you tried food grade diatomaceous earth

  • Gail H
    Gail H Posts: 359 ✭✭✭✭

    Thank you all for the help and suggestions. I will toast you with a glass of carrot juice if I get a bumper crop!

  • solarnoon.aspen
    solarnoon.aspen Posts: 219 ✭✭✭

    A good friend of mine has talked about her wire worm infestation. It's not fun. She seems to have them in certain places, though, so she can identify a site to work on. Basically, she found that those critters are really attracted to potatoes. So she cuts some up and puts them underground and in a few days, the worms have gravitated to the potatoes which she digs up and disposes of.

    ALso, I feel some of the reason I don't have them is because my chickens REALLY like to eat them. I wouldn't say chickens are perfect companions for the garden when left to their own devices, however, a good chicken scouring in the springtime does eliminated a bunch of less beneficials.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,513 admin

    Don't use mothballs as they contain formaldehyde. I would not grow in plastic nor tires because of chemical contamination.

    My insect loving daughter says that wire worms turn into click beetles...ah, I see that's already been mentioned. You can turn these beetles upside down and they make a clicking sound as they flip themselves over. Fun to watch, but the kids also learned that the beetles will bite.

    I also wondered if you might have certain root maggots too considering that you mentioned specific root veggies. I would go after both.

    It looks like the links above should give you lots of help. Good luck!

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