Cutworm Monitoring Network Established

Cutworm Monitoring Network Established April 22, 2016

Extension educators have organized a pheromone trapping network to monitor black cutworm, variegated cutworm, and armyworm moth activity across Nebraska during the 2016 planting season.   The first traps were put in service the week of April 4.

Traps are already or soon will be active in many locations, including Adams, Burt, Butler, Dixon, Lancaster, Lincoln, Madison, Merrick, Nemaha, Phelps, Saline, and Wayne counties (Figure 1)

Black cutworm moths have already been detected in Nebraska in conjunction with the weather systems, winds, and rain tracking up from the south, with one site (Merrick) noting 18 moths over a two-night period.

Variegated cutworms, which overwinter in Nebraska, have been documented at most sites, with the highest moth count being 17 in one night in Butler County.

Moth activity does not necessarily correspond with later cutworm caterpillar outbreaks, but serves as an early warning for field scouting to be aware that cutworms may be present.  Weedy fields are most at risk as the vegetation is conducive for moth egg-laying and provides food for the hatching caterpillars.

Nebraska map of cutworm monitoring sites
Figure 1. Cutworm monitoring sites for 2016.

Some armyworms have also been noted, but they have not been as widespread as black cutworms so far. Last year there were outbreaks of armyworms on several grassy crops and pastures/grass hay fields in eastern Nebraska.

Moth counts will be regularly updated in CropWatch.

Nebraska Extension educators on the UNL Extension Moth Monitoring Network are Michael Rethwisch, John Wilson, Wayne Ohnesorg, Keith Jarvi, Randy Pryor, Eric Stehlik, Gary Lesoing, Ron Seymour, Todd Whitney, and Dave Boxler.