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Black Cutworm
(John Obermeyer, Purdue University)
Common Name: Black Cutworm

Order: Lepidoptera

Family: Noctuidae

Pest Status: The black cutworm can become a serious pest of many agricultural crops as well as turfgrass because they cut off plants near the ground.

Appearance: The drab-colored moths are similar in size and shape to other species of the cutworm family. The distinguishable marking is a small, black slash near the outer edge of the front wings.

Life Cycle: Adults overwinter in the soil in southern states. They arrive in the more northern states each year via southwesterly air currents. In the first generation, eggs hatch within a week and the larvae feed on host plants for about a month. In subsequent generations, these stages can require as much as eight or nine weeks.

Where to Collect: Black cutworms are active at night. They are highly attracted to lights.