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Black Cutworm damage
(John Obermeyer, Purdue University)
Common Name: Black Cutworm - damage
See also: adult | larva

Scientific Name: Noctuidae: Agrotis ipsilon

Status: pest of field and garden crops, and turfgrass

Damaging Stage: caterpillar

Injury: Severe damage usually does not occur until black cutworms reach the fourth instar. Early instar cutworm feeding involves cutting small irregular holes in plant leaves. As the larvae mature, black cutworms sever the plants at the soil line. Grass plants, including corn and turfgrass, are most susceptible to cutworm damage. Multiple generations of cutworms may occur beginning very early in the spring.

Action Threshold: Treatment for field corn is necessary when 3 percent or more of the plants are cut and larvae are still present. In highly manicured turfgrasses, simply finding feeding caterpillars may be cause for action.

Management: Chemical controls are most successful-and economical-when used as a rescue treatment after live larvae are found.