The arrival of Spring brings with it opportunity to discuss Noctua pronuba and its potential to affect this year’s plantings.
The extremely WET winter and recent mild temperatures mean that cutworm pressure could be higher than normal this year.
As seen in the figure below, crop damage can occur throughout the winter, AND ALSO INTO SPRING.
To scout for damage, look for areas of clipped grass or missing seedlings. Dig to at least 2″ and sort through the soil. Or, investigate at night to catch cutworms in the act!
Larvae will be feeding now, and they eat truly everything, including commercial grasses, home lawns, vegetable crops, and ornamentals. Most cutworms are subterranean but some can also climb up to feed on foliage. Certain species do this in vineyards, but until recently, we did not know if N. pronuba displayed this behavior:
Happy planting, and please feel free to CONTACT me with cutworm sightings or questions.