Every spring, dozens of cooperators throughout the state put forth considerable effort in trapping for the arrival and intensity of black cutworm moths. This year, especially, they were very busy showing off their counting skills! I’m personally indebted to these faithful bug counters!
As you can see from the past year’s trap comparison graph, 2014 black cutworm moth catches has not only broken past records, it has blown the doors off. With this and a larval development model it allows us to alert pest managers to be scouting emerging corn. NOW IS THE TIME TO SCOUT!!!
Admittedly, this is not an exact science. But one must consider the moth catches in Weeks 4 and 5, the last week of April and first of May. If nearly as many female moths have accompanied the male moths (pheromone traps only attract male moths) into Indiana, one has to agree that the “stage is set” for significant black cutworm damage.
During this wet period for the state, scout high-risk fields for cutworm corn leaf feeding and/or cutting. Don’t be overly reliant on seed-applied insecticides or traited corn to protect your stand, they will not withstand severe pressure. Fields yet to be planted to corn are especially prone to damage, as the cutworms are likely established and feeding on weedy growth as you read this.
Happy, and muddy, Scouting!