Wireworms and WDS complex

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Common name: Wireworms; click-beetles

Scientific name: Several species of the family Elateridae.

Common name: Cucumber beetles; rootworms

Scientific name: Diabrotica spp., family Chrysomelidae

Common Name: Flea beetles

Scientific Name: Systena spp.; Chaetocnema confinis (Crotch), , family Chrysomelidae, subfamily Alticinae


Wireworm damage produces shallow round to irregular scars on storage roots (E. Coleman).

A wireworm (Conderus sp.) (Texas T&M University).


Diagnostic summary

  • What they do to plants

- larvae live in the soil and  eat shallow cavities in storage roots.

- larvae are often not present in damaged storage roots at harvest and are rare in soil samples.

- other beetle larvae, including cucumber beetles Diabrotica spp. and flea beetles Systena spp., can cause similar damage.

- damage tends to be in patches in the field.

  • Wireworms tend to attack roots late in the season, while cucumber beetle and flea beetle larvae may attack early producing more healed scars at harvest.

  • Adults of wireworms are various species of click-beetle, with different species present in various locations.


Economic importance

Geographical distribution



Biology and ecology

Host Range

Detection and inspection



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