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Early Insect And Slug Concerns

By Andy Michel
 
For a couple of weeks we have been warning about the possibility of black cutworms based on adult catches reported by surrounding states.  We have begun to observe some minor feeding on corn, suggesting that the larvae are there and the worst of the damage is yet to come.  We have also received some reports of slug feeding—this is no surprise given the amount of early season rain as well as the more recent precipitation over the weekend.  As our crops are starting to emerge, these are prime sources of food for hungry cutworms and slugs.  
 
Early Insect and Slug Concerns
 
Black Cutworm Larvae
 
Now is the time to scout your fields for the presence of damage from these pests.  Although all fields should be scouted, focus on those with a history of these pests, where weed control was less than effective, or with a lot of residue left on the field.  The past few weeks and warmer temperatures have really gotten crops off to a good start, but with the milder temperatures predicted for this week and most of our soybean having been planted more recently (which is perhaps a greater concern for slug feeding), crops are still vulnerable and may not keep pace with feeding from these two pests.  
 
For more information on slug management, see these two videos from the Plant Management Network developed by our recently retired Extension Entomologist, Dr. Ron Hammond:
 
https://www.plantmanagementnetwork.org/edcenter/seminars/soybean/SlugManagementSoybean/ 
 
http://www.plantmanagementnetwork.org/edcenter/seminars/corn/slugmanagementcorn/
 

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