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Angie Peltier

Angie Peltier
Former Extension Educator, Commercial Agriculture

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Hill and Furrow

Current topics about crop production in Western Illinois, including field crops research at the NWIARDC in Monmouth.
Figure. Black cutworm moth captured at the Northwestern Illinois Agricultural Research and Demonstration Center in Spring 2012. Note the characteristic black 'dagger' shaped markings located in the lower portion of the wing.

Black cutwoms at the NWIARDC

Posted by Angie Peltier - Insects

Insects that overwinter in Illinois may have had better survival than in more recent, harsher winters. However the spring population is also a function of the number of adults that were present to lay eggs in the fall. Entomologist at the University of Illinois suggest that folks scout their fields early to keep a look out for insects that overwinter in Illinois including the soybean aphid, bean leaf beetle and corn flea beetle. Corn flea beetles vector the bacterium that causes Stewart's Wilt disease on corn. Stewart's wilt has historically been more of a problem on sweet corn, however some popcorn and dent corn hybrids are also susceptible.

Entomologists also think that we may see migratory insect pests such as black cutworms, army worms and corn earworms move into Illinois sooner than years past. In cooperation with the Illinois Natural History Survey, pheromones traps will be used to lure and trap important insect pest at the Northern Illinois Agricultural Research and Demonstration Center to alert you about when specific pests have arrived.

The black cutworm pheromone trap at the NWILARDC has accumulated 13 total black cutworm moths (Figure) between March 30 and April 5, 2012. This does alert us that black cutworms have migrated north earlier than normal this year due to the unseasonably warm weather. Black cutworm moths mate and females deposit their eggs onto weeds in your fields. Hatched larvae can then feed on emerging corn seedlings. Young corn plants with one to four leaves are most susceptible to black cut worm damage.

Trapping is a way to gauge whether the pest is in the area. Decisions about whether to spray insecticides should not be based on trap catches alone. Bt traits provide protection, but under heavy infestations, may not provide adequate control. It is important to scout your fields before considering an insecticide treatment.

University of Illinois entomologist Mike Gray wrote about black cutworm numbers throughout the state in a recent article of the Bulletin: (

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