What are Cutworms?
Cutworms are larvae or caterpillars from certain night flying moths in the Noctuidae family. During the day they hide under the soil or under litter piles but at night they attack gardens and crops. Cutworms munch on seedlings at the stem and root causing the plants to fall over, hence the name "cutworm". Some cutworms finish off the plant they attack while others move on to new plants. Cutworms can destroy 75% of a new crop or garden in a single season. Use Bifen IT, Bifen LP, Cyonara Lawn and Garden Insect Control, or Imidacloprid to control cutworms.
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How to Control Cutworms
The easiest and most effective way to control a large existing infestion of cutworms is to use an insecticide. Apply the selected insecticide to foliage and stems in the evening or late afternoon just before the cutworms come out to eat. Treatment is most effective when cutworms are small. Reapply the pesticide after each rain until the plants are past the seedling stage. Along with the products such as Biften IT and Imidacloprid products, Bacillus Thuringiensis and Diotomacious Earth can also control cutworm populations.
There are also a few natural steps you can take to reduce cutworm populations. Always keep the planting area clear of weeds and grasses year-round. Female moths can lay hundreds of eggs on low growing plants in the garden. Another way to help control cutworms is to plow or till the field or garden in the spring before planting and then in the fall after harvest. Cutworms winter in the soil as larvae or pupae and turning over the earth will eliminate a large number of them.
What do Cutworms look like?
Cutworms are soft looking caterpillars that range in color from brown or tan, to pink, to green or yellow. Some cutworms have solid colored bodies while others have spots or stripes. Cutworms can grow to be one to two inches long and tend to curl into a tight “C” when resting or disturbed. There are bronzed cutworms, variegated cutworms, black cutworms, dingy cutworms, glassy cutworms, and army cutworms with some subterranean, crawling, and climbing abilities.
Where are Cutworms found?
Cutworms feed on anything, but they seem to prefer vegetables and grains. They are often found in home gardens and larger agricultural areas. They are the second worst pest in the corn industry. Some cutworms also feed on turf grass.