My potatoes have holes in them, what has caused this?
Posted by Dobies Staff on 24 June 2013 11:30 am
Holes in potatoes have most likely been caused by wireworm.  Occurring in all kinds of soil wireworm will attack nearly every kind of crop.   They are the larvae or young of beetles commonly known as click beetles of which there are many kinds. 

Wireworms are most numerous on land that has recently been cultivated, having previously been grassland.   They may attack the sets and sprouts of potatoes but this seldom has a disastrous effect.   However serious damage can occur to the tubers as holes made by the wireworm provide access for pests such as slugs, millipedes and other soil organisms.  To limit the damage, lift the potato crop as soon as the tubers are mature. 

There are no chemical controls for wireworm but it has been found that the risk of attack is much reduced by thorough soil consolidation - the aim should be a firm soil below a firm tilth.   Thoroughly cultivating the soil and controlling weeds will also help to eliminate this pest.  Digging in the autumn will expose the wireworms to the weather and birds and it is also well worth checking the compost heap before applying to the soil as this can contain large numbers of them.  
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