Friday, May 1, 2015

The Cutworm Moths are Here: Should I be Worried?

There have been reports of black cutworm moth trap catches from Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and Kentucky.  Heavy catches have been reported in Indiana and Kentucky.  Significant catches (8 or more moths over 2 days) signal to us that we need to start adding up temperature data to help determine when to scout.  

2015 Cutworm Trap Reports:

If you happen to have a Black Cutworm trap or suspect that you may have seen moths in your "neck of the woods" in Illinois, you can make your own prediction of projected cutting dates by using Illinois State Water Survey - Daily Pest Degree-Day Calendar.  

Southern Illinois should start scouting for cutworm around May 10th or 15th, 2015
Central Illinois should start scouting for cutworm around May 15th or 20th, 2015
Northern Illinois should start scouting for cutworm around May 20th or 25th, 2015

Black cutworms moths migrate from the Southern U.S. overwintering sites and deposit eggs (often where winter annuals are present).  When less than a half inch long, the larvae primarily feed on leaf material.  However, once larger than a half inch – the larvae can clip corn beneath the growing point.  Known for their black, gray appearance, grain skin quality, and unequal sized spots/tubercles/warts on each body segment – Black Cutworms persist throughout the growing season.  Corn simply outgrows their ability to inflict serious injury.  

Is your corn protected?
Burrus corn is treated with PowerShield®, which consists of Poncho 500 (standard), which improves early season protection from the damage caused by black cutworm.  All Burrus PowerShield® treated corn qualifies for free 100% replant if needed.

Power Plus® 2V56 AMX™*, 4Y27 AMX™*, 4G46 AMX™*, 4J95 AMX™*, 5C17 AMXT™*, 6F74 AMX™*, 6P75 AMX™*, 7A18 AM1™*, 2N82 AM™*, 4V45 AM™*, 4J93 AM™*, 6N83 AM™*, 7U15 AM-R™*, Catalyst 4685 3111, 7893 3111, and Burrus 5Z44 3122 consist of a Bt protein that can control the cutworm if ingested.  Given enough feeding larvae, it is occasionally possible that black cutworms can overwhelm transgenic traits.  However, overwhelming of the trait is rather rare.

Burrus currently recommends an insecticide rescue treatment if cutworms are less than ¾-inch and 2 to 3 percent of the plants are cut.  We do not recommend preventative treatments except in very, very rare cases, because we strive to abide by the land grant university approach to cutworm management.

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