Ok, now that I’ve got your attention…
The subject line is a playful way to introduce you to Apamea devastator, although the damage it can do is no laughing matter.
This species overwinters as mature larvae, and I found some south of Corvallis just last week.
Underground feeding can stunt or kill plants, and some host plants include:
- Grass (pasture and seed)
- Root vegetables
This pest is particularly fond of fescue, timothy, and bluegrass. Outbreaks have occurred in PNW fescue.
SCOUT NOW by surveying fields for any sign of browning-off or slow growth. Dig up the roots and search surrounding soil for translucent, large (3cm), greenish to white larvae with little to no body markings, except for the brown prothoracic shield just behind the head. Common name: glassy cutworm refers to the light, almost ‘glassy’ appearance. Most other cutworms have distinctive markings along the surface of the body(examples here).
It is important to realize that natural enemies (predator and parasitoid insects, birds, etc.) can keep cutworms populations suppressed below damaging levels. Be sure to consider the impact on these beneficial predators before choosing to apply chemical controls.
If scouting reveals a need to make a treatment, consult the PNW Insect Management Handbook, and be sure your crop is listed on the pesticide label. Rain or irrigation may help move the product into the soil surface, which is important for this species.