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Agronomic Crops Network

Ohio State University Extension


Black Cutworm Moths to begin their arrival

Our agronomic crop moth trapping network begins this week and we expect to catch a fair number of black cutworm moths, based on a few reports from neighboring states.  Black cutworm moths migrate from southern locations and lay eggs in fields prior to planting.  Once these eggs hatch, the developing caterpillars will feed on corn seedlings and sometimes cut the plant completely, hence their name.  It may still be some time before corn planting, but careful monitoring of the moth flight over the next few weeks can help determine infestation risk, especially if the numbers sharply increase.  Black cutworm females can lay eggs in any field, but they prefer fields with weedy vegetation, especially those with heavy populations of chickweed and purple dead nettle.  Proper weed control prior to planting may help decrease the risk of black cutworm infestations. Additionally, most above-ground Bt corn will provide control but must include either the traits Cry1F or Vip3A (see the updated, 2022 Bt trait table here:  ).  Although we have not seen good success with insecticidal seed treatments, rescue spray treatments are a good option. Keep in mind that significant outbreaks from black cutworm have been rare in Ohio, and the risk can be minimized with proper weed control and field scouting.  We will provide updated moth trapping results in future newsletter articles.  For more information, see our black cutworm fact sheet:       

Crop Observation and Recommendation Network

C.O.R.N. Newsletter is a summary of crop observations, related information, and appropriate recommendations for Ohio crop producers and industry. C.O.R.N. Newsletter is produced by the Ohio State University Extension Agronomy Team, state specialists at The Ohio State University and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). C.O.R.N. Newsletter questions are directed to Extension and OARDC state specialists and associates at Ohio State.