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Northern Illinois Agriculture

University of Illinois Extension
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Black cutworm information for Northern Illinois

Posted by Russel Higgins - Corn

A delayed corn planting season may align emerging and seedling corn that is susceptible to cutting with the emergence of Black cutworm larvae. In a recent Illinois Bulletin article Dr. Mike Gray, University of Illinois entomologist shared that fields most at risk to economic infestations include those that are planted late and infested with winter annuals. Weedy fields are often targeted for egg laying by these strong migratory moths. Minor leaf feeding is often an early indicator of potential cutting that may ensue. Fields at greatest risk to economic loss are those in the 1 to 4 leaf stage of development. Many Bt hybrids now provide various levels of protection against black cutworms. Producers are encouraged to view the Handy Bt Trait Table published by Drs. Chris DiFonzo (Michigan State University) and Eileen Cullen (University of Wisconsin) to determine the extent of  black cutworm protection provided by their Bt hybrids. Dr. Grays article in its entirety is posted here.

The Black cutworm does not normally overwinter and adults arrive in our area carried by weather fronts from the south. Producers are alerted to Black cutworm projected cutting dates after an intense capture of moths has been collected (9 or more moths over a two day period) in their area. After an intense capture of black cutworm moths, we can predict when black cutworm larvae have developed to the fourth instar stage with the ability to cut plants (accumulation of 300 heat units above a base temperature of 50 deg F). You can follow the Black cutworm catches in your area by visiting the North central IPMPIPE web site.

Select the 2014 Illinois Black cutworm monitoring tab, a map of Illinois with shaded counties where traps are located will appear. Select a county to determine the closest town to the trapping site and the results from that trap.

In Northern Illinois Black cutworm trapping is taking place in

DeKalb County - Shabbona, at the Northern Illinois Agronomy Research Center.

Winnebago County - Rockford

Ogle County - Polo

Whiteside County - Morrison

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