Watch out for black cutworm

Black cutworm moths have been migrating back to Indiana, Ohio and other neighboring states as indicated by the pheromone traps. They do not overwinter in the Corn Belt and usually come up from the southwest. The moths have been laying eggs and they might hatch at about the same time our corn crop has germinated and is in the early seedling stage. Purdue Entomologists John Obermeyer and Christian Krupke recently issued advice concerning black cutworm.

• Many factors can determine if cutworm will attack your fields.

• Scout your corn often once it is up and apply foliar applications of insecticides if black cutworm reaches economic threshold levels. Your seedsman or agronomist can help you determine when the economic threshold level is reached.

• Consider the size of the larvae and the stage of feeding on your corn crop. The price of corn versus the cost of the insecticide application also enters the equation.

• Just because you have planted seed coated with an insecticide, you may not get total control. Seed applied insecticides don’t last forever. Even the seed treated with insecticides will not prevent the cutworms from having a good dinner. So be on the lookout for this destructive pest!

• Black cutworm moths don’t invade all in one flush. They lay eggs over a period of time.

• If the infestation is heavy, or if there are enough flushes of black cutworm moths that attack your fields, there still could be larvae hatching and ready to feed on corn seedlings after the insecticide wears off.

• Scouting from the pick-up window will not be very effective. If you don’t have enough time to cover all your fields, make sure to hire some scouts.

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