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Black Cutworm Captures Continue: Don't Delay Scouting Efforts in Central and Southern Illinois

May 11, 2001
Sporadic captures of black cutworm moths continue to be observed throughout the state of Illinois. Jim Morrison, crop systems educator, Rockford Extension Center, reported an intense flight (nine or more moths captured over a 1- to 2-day period) on May 7 in Winnebago County. In addition to intense flights, there are confirmed cases of black cutworm injury in some counties. Kevin Black, technical specialist, Growmark, Bloomington, Illinois, reported that third and fourth instars were found (May 3) in Randolph County. He indicated that because of hot and dry soil conditions, much of the cutting was occurring below ground. Up to 15 to 20% of corn seedlings were cut in certain areas of some fields. Doug Gucker, Piatt County Extension Unit, also reported (May 7) minor leaf feeding and occasional cutting of plants by black cutworms in Piatt County. Flights of black cutworms will continue to take place throughout the state. Late-planted and weedy fields will be the prime targets for egg-laying female moths.

During the rush to get soybeans planted, don't neglect to scout cornfields that have emerging seedlings. Because black cutworm cutting may take place below ground in some fields, scouting requires some effort. However, some energy expended may be very worthwhile. Please refer to earlier issues (no. 4 and no. 5) of the Bulletin for more detailed scouting information and other management tips.--Mike Gray

Cut seedling corn plant.

Black cutworm larva.

Author: Mike Gray

The Pest Management and Crop Development Bulletin
Executive Editor: Kevin Steffey, Extension Entomologist

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