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Pest alert: Black Cutworm

Pest alert: Black Cutworm
By Bruce Potter
 
This has been an active spring for black cutworm (BCW) flights into MN. Pheromone trap captures indicating that moth flights are large enough to pose risk to crops have occurred through the past few weeks and are continuing. The southern tiers of counties have seen the most activity but traps located in more northern areas have seen issues as well.
 
The NWS precipitation forecast shows conditions likely favorable for more insect migration from the south. Another influx of BCW moths with these systems is likely. Other migrant crop pests including true armyworm, potato leafhopper and cereal aphids may show as well.
 
Unfortunately, these immigration events coincide with a late planting season in much of Minnesota, which increases the risk of economic injury to crop seedlings.  Based on this year's pheromone trap captures, there is an increased risk, but not certainty, for black cutworm damage.
 
Don't forget to look for cutworm leaf feeding where the crop is emerging. Stand reducing insects can be more problematic when crops are slow to emerge and develop.