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Black Cutworm monitoring project

By Jerrold Tesmer

Fri, Apr 12th, 2013
Posted in All Agriculture

By Jerrold Tesmer, Extension Educator for Fillmore/Houston Counties

A number of years ago, University of Minnesota Extension along with the Research and Outreach Centers had a Black Cutworm Monitoring Project, it was dropped, I suspect for budgetary reasons. It has been re-instated in 2013 due to damage that occurred in 2011 and 2012.

The black cutworm moth flights will be monitored by pheromone traps as the black cutworm migrates into Minnesota. These traps can provide 2-3 weeks advance warning on when and where to expect cutting damage from black cutworms. A lure that contains a sex attractant for male black cutworm moths, and a waxed paper bottom with a sticky surface trap incoming moths.

Black cutworms are only an occasional corn pest, but this insect still deserves attention due to its potential to cause economic loss. Currently seed treatments and genetically modified hybrids do not fully protect against cutworms, so corn is still at risk every year to migrating black cutworm moths.

Production practices that favor black cutworm damage include late tillage and late planting. Corn planted after soybeans is also more likely to get infested than in continuous corn. Poorly drained, weedy fields or fields located near native vegetation can also be attractive to egg-laying females.

Black cutworm infestations have been historically sporadic and patchy. A just-in-case treatment does not follow Integrated Pest Management (IPM) guidelines and may be a waste of money.

Data will be collected from around the state and a summary map, which indicates where significant captures have occurred, will be prepared. This map will be posted on the web at:

In addition, the website contains information on the black cutworm, its biology, damage to crops and management decisions.

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