Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Armyworm & Cutworm Moth Flights Rather Ordinary

Doug Johnson, Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky

Black cutworm moth
Capture of both armyworm and cutworm moths have decreased during the previous trap week. At present the data indicate that neither pest is set for a big outbreak. Of course this can change especially if we get a sustained week of good weather. This does not mean that there are no pests around, there certainly are. Nevertheless, flight patterns compared to the rolling five year average do not show any sign of an elevated risk of outbreak.

Armyworm moth
Even though we have a good outlook for the short term we still need to remember that “only about 15 percent of corn has been planted which is well behind last year’s 73 percent and the five year average of 32 percent” (KY Weekly Crop & Weather Report Apr. 22, 2013). Remember, both black cutworm and armyworm are migrating to KY from more southern states, and the timing of their migrations are dependent upon temperature just as are planting and corn development. So it is still very possible that larger populations of either or both of these pests could show up in the early vegetative stages of corn development.So, for the moment things look good, but one best pay attention to future developments.

Tracking moth flights isn’t your only preparation option. With both insects but black cutworm in particular providing a weed free seed bed for at least two weeks prior to planting can make a big difference. Early preplant herbicide programs have shown a positive impact in the prevention of cutworm and common stalk borer infestations. Removing weeds especially grass weeds by whatever mechanism, ahead of planning is a good strategy for these early arriving insects.

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