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Sandhill Cutworms in Northwestern Illinois

May 17, 2002
David Feltes, Extension educator in IPM at the Quad Cities University of Illinois Extension Center, received a couple of reliable reports of sandhill cutworms injuring seedling corn in sandy soils in southern Carroll County. The injury reportedly had reached or exceeded an economic threshold (about 3% of the plants cut below the soil surface).

In issue no. 4 (April 19, 2002) of the Bulletin, I discussed several species of cutworms and emphasized the importance of accurate identification of species. As I indicated, sandhill cutworms can be devastating in sandy soils because they feed exclusively below ground, usually killing any plant on which they feed. In addition, they overwinter as partially grown larvae, so they reach plant-damaging status very quickly in the spring. This finding of sandhill cutworms should prompt farmers who have planted corn in sandy soils to be on the lookout for this pest. The "rescue insecticides" suggested for control of black cutworms (Bulletin issue no. 3, April 12, 2002) are suitable for control of sandhill cutworms. However, because of the subterranean habits of sandhill cutworms, efficacy occasionally is less than the efficacy expected for black cutworms.--Kevin Steffey

Author: Kevin Steffey

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

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