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Issue No. 1, Article 6/March 16, 2005

Black Cutworm Monitoring to Begin

Though temperatures are a bit cooler this March, it is still time to start thinking about spring and black cutworm moths. Black cutworm moths do not generally overwinter in Illinois. They migrate northward from the southern states, usually with southwesterly winds and storm fronts. While we do not worry about these adult moths causing injury, these spring flights can be used to determine when their offspring will be present in your corn fields. Pheromone traps can be used to determine when black cutworm moths are present in your area. We can also use degree-day accumulations to predict larval development and when the first cutting of plants may begin.

Monitor for black cutworms using a pheromone trap.

Black cutworm trapping usually begins toward the end of March. As usual, Ron Hines, senior research specialist at the Dixon Springs Agricultural Research Center, has had his insect trap lines up and running for weeks now. Being at one of the southernmost locations in Illinois, Ron usually has the first initial captures of insects that are moving from the southern United States. You can view Ron's trap captures at The Hines Report, which is updated weekly. In other areas of the state, we rely on volunteers who are monitoring for black cutworm to send trap results to the Insect Monitoring Network. This network monitors and posts trap counts weekly for black cutworm, corn earworm, European corn borer, and western bean cutworm (new this year).

Black cutworm months will soon be migrating into Illinois.

I am currently in the process of locating volunteers who are monitoring or are interested in monitoring for black cutworm moths. Just to forewarn you, I will also be soliciting volunteers for corn earworm, European corn borer, and western bean cutworm later in the season. If you are interested in participating in the Insect Monitoring Network, please contact me at kcook8@uiuc.edu or (217)333-4424.--Kelly Cook

Kelly Estes

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