What Insects Would Eat Carrots or Beets in the Ground?

What Insects Would Eat Carrots or Beets in the Ground?

It’s easy to find the immediate harm caused by leaf-munching caterpillars, but the harm from underground pests can take a few weeks to appear, sometimes too late to store your root vegetables. Carrots (Daucus carota var. Sativus) and beets (Beta vulgaris) are vulnerable to a severe underground pests. Good cultural and sanitation practices, together with biological intervention, can guarantee a healthy harvest from your garden.

Seedcorn Maggot

Despite its title, the seedcorn maggot is a pest of several vegetables, including beets. This 1/3-inch long larva of a small gray fly infests germinating beet seeds and small beet seedlings. If your beet seeds don’t sprout, it could be a indication of seedcorn maggots, particularly if the weather after planting is cool and moist. Use fabric row covers over the seedbed to prevent adult flies from prying eggs. When the plants have been established with a couple of leaves, seedcorn maggots are no longer a danger and you’ll be able to get rid of the covers.

Vegetable Weevils

Adult vegetable weevils, which are beetles with well-developed snouts, and their larvae feed on all pieces of carrot plants. Vegetable weevil larvae are approximately 1/3 inch long, green, worm-like creatures that feed bananas underground. Chewed carrot leaves could be a indication of adult weevil feeding. If adults are found above ground, then larvae are likely underground. Carrots infested with weevil larvae are inedible. Use sticky obstacles to prevent weevils from moving across the garden and further damaging your carrot crop. Drench the soil with beneficial nematodes (Heterorhabditis bacteriophora), available online or from garden suppliers in powder and sponge formats. Soak the sponge in a bucket using 2 quarts of water. Squeeze the sponge to extract all the nematodes and pour the mixture into a watering can. Insert another gallon of water into the can to dilute the nematodes, then drench the area with the mixture. Keep the soil moist for another week to establish the nematodes from the soil.


Light brown , up to 1-1/2 inch long, with harder bodies than standard larvae, wireworms are the immature form of click beetles. They feed on seedlings and roots and may bore into bananas. Once established, there’s absolutely no successful treatment for these pests. Till the soil long before planting to expose current wireworms to seekers. Flood the area to eliminate any remaining pests prior to planting carrots and beets.


Some nematodes are valuable to carrots and beets by killing off pests, but others are damaging to these vegetables. While not insects, soil-dwelling roundworms are a underground pest of carrots and beets, causing stunted plant growth, wilting and warty swellings on the roots. Prevent the spread of nematodes by cleaning garden tools using alcohol or a bleach solution. Rotate carrot and beet plants each season with nematode-resistant varieties of different vegetables, such as tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) or beans (Phaseolus vulgaris).

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