With trap counts of black cutworm increasing, as well as some reports of cutworm activity, growers are advised to scout fields for cutworms. Cool conditions and excessive moisture have slowed growth of some crops this year extending the period of vulnerability to cutworms. Depending on the crop, cutworms will attack plants beginning at the seedling stage up until plants are about 12 inches or so in height.
Generally, cutworms hide beneath residue or in soil on clear sunny days. At night or on overcast days, cutworms leave their burrows to feed on various plants. Their burrows are often within 6 inches of the plant they are feeding on.
To sample for cutworm, dig about 2 to 3 inches down in a 6-inch radius around damaged plants.
Ric Bessin, Extension Entomologist