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Updated: April 14, 2018
Again this spring Penn State Extension will be monitoring arriving populations of black cutworm moths so growers can use this information in their IPM programs. Black cutworm is an early season pest of corn that does its most damage by cutting corn seedlings off at the base. Each spring, this pest species colonizes Pennsylvania on storm fronts from southern states, so the best way to know it is here, and when the caterpillars will be active cutting corn plants, is to trap the moths as they arrive. As in past years, we are in the process of establishing Penn State's Black Cutworm Monitoring Network to help growers understand the risk from this pest. Penn State Extension educators and a few high school agricultural teachers and their students are monitoring about 30 pheromone traps across the state. We will let folks know via this newsletter the status of arriving populations, when caterpillars should be active and the corresponding time to scout fields for damage.
As a reminder, black cutworm arrival is difficult to predict and rarely are preventative insecticide application timed appropriately to provide control; therefore, rescue treatments are usually the most efficient and economical tactic for managing black cutworm. For more information, see the article on Black Cutworm.