Peace Region Pest Update – meet the click beetles

Hello folks, we’re here this time with some information on an interesting pest we have been monitoring, the Click Beetle. Many producers in the region have encountered Wireworms/Click Beetles of the family Elateridae, and potentially have had Wireworm damage to their pasture land, forage crop or even cereal crops. By June of this year the BC Prairie Pest Monitoring has placed out 64 Vernon Pitfall traps at 7 locations throughout the BC Peace monitoring Click Beetles. We are working closely with Federal Entomologists Jennifer Otani from Beaverlodge and Wim Van Herk from Agassiz on this project over the coming years to identify species that are present and their abundance here in the region. 

Wireworms are a soil pest that will generally feed on the root system of grasses, forages and cereal crops in the Prairies. They have a complex life cycle which makes both control and research of them difficult. A wireworm is the larvae of the adult Click Beetle in layman’s terms the Wireworm is the equivalent of a human from birth through to adolescence. 

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From there the Wireworm undergoes a change to a Click Beetle (its adult form). Size varies greatly from specie to specie with a range of millimetres to a couple centimetres. 

Wireworm issues; signs would be similar to drainage problems as shown in inside the yellow circle photo. 

Plants will be stunted in growth and will start to yellow a bit, the heavier the feeding the greater increase in yellowing and stunting. Wireworm movement in soils is temperature dependant and so you may see patches affected of varying size as they move vertically through the soil based on soil temperatures. Wireworms tend to feed at two key times of the year, one being spring and the other being fall. For next season if you have concerns the general time to start scouting is when you see Dandelions starting to flower. As we have just begun to monitor in this region we are seeing click beetle presence across the region and have much more work to do in the coming years.

On another note, it should be kept in mind that Grasshopper numbers continue to increase in certain areas of the region and scouting should be done when they are ranging from 2nd instar to Adults. Just a reminder that rain may cause a decrease in grasshopper population due to a potential increase in summit disease aka Entomophaga grylli, a fungal pathogen that may result in grasshoppers clasping to stems as shown in the photo. 

We hope that you have found todays Pest of the Week interesting and will check out our Facebook page Peace River Forage Seed Association - Pest Monitoring for further seasonal updates. If you have any questions or concerns regarding a pest you may have encountered, please feel free to call or text our pest phone (250-719-8322), Keith Uloth (250-613-0761), or email us at pest@bcgrain.com

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