Hypnoidus bicolor – the most common Prairie pest Wireworm

Continuing our series on Prairie wireworms, this week we highlight Hypnoidus bicolor.

This species is the most abundant in Prairie crop fields and is a native species. Despite its abundance, it has no common name. Hypnoidus bicolor larvae are relatively small (10-12 mm long when mature) and are often found in the same fields as next week’s PPMN Insect of the Week, Prairie grain wireworm (Selatosomus aeripennis destructor, up to 23 mm long when mature).

Size of resident wireworms can vary with species. Selatosomus aeripennis destructor (left) and Hypnoidus bicolor (right). Photo: W. van Herk, AAFC-Agassiz

Although this species is abundant, it may not be as aggressive of a feeder than its cousin the Prairie grain wireworm. An interesting feature of this species is that it has different populations, some of which are all females. What we call H. bicolor today may actually be several species or subspecies based on genetic differences. We estimate that the larvae of this species live in the soil for 2-3 years but this has not been verified.

AAFC has recently released a new field guide on Prairie pest wireworms. It has information on biology, monitoring and management and research on wireworms on the Prairies. Preview the Hypnoidus bicolor pages of the new wireworm guide here.

Free digital copies in both official languages can be downloaded at these links.

Guide to pest wireworms in Canada (English)

Guide to pest wireworms in Canada (French)

Free hard copies are also available while supplies last. Email Haley Catton at haley.catton@agr.gc.ca to request your copy.

Main pest wireworm species on the Canadian Prairies: larval stages (top), adult (click beetle) stages (bottom). Photos: J. Saguez, CEROM

Did you know ?

H. bicolor is in the same genus as the main pest species in Quebec, the abbreviated wireworm Hypnoidus abbreviatus.


Drahun, I., Wiebe, K.F., Koloski, C.W., van Herk, W.G. and Cassone, B.J. (2021), Genetic structure and population demographics of Hypnoidus bicolor (Coleoptera: Elateridae) in the Canadian Prairies. Pest Manag Sci, 77: 2282-2291. https://doi.org/10.1002/ps.6255