NDSU Crop and Pest Report


ISSUE 6  June 6, 2002

North-Central ND


Many questions are coming in about the so-called "Miller Moths" flying around outside and inside homes. These are the adult moths of cutworms, Family Noctuidae. Cutworm moths are active at night and are attracted to lights. The main species flying around is the Army cutworm, which will migrate to the Rocky Mountains for the summer. It then returns to the plains in the late summer to lay eggs in fields. Fortunately, this is probably the largest of the cutworm flights. However, several migratory moths are also arriving including the Black cutworm and the Variegated cutworm. The Striped cutworm will be the next to emerge in early July, the Red-backed cutworms in mid- July, and the Dingy cutworms in late July through August. Two late emerging cutworms are the Dark-sided cutworm and Bronzed cutworm, which start to fly in August - September. Most adult cutworm moths will live about 21 days or more.

What to do about these Miller Moths? The best options are: 1) Turn the outside lights off when not in use. 2) Change the outside lights to a yellow bulb, which is less attractive to night flying insects. 3) Keep curtains closed at night, so night flying insects are not attracted to your windows. 4) Fix any holes in the screens to prevent moths (insects) from entering the house. Spraying insecticides outside or inside is NOT recommended and will not provide control. We will see repeated flights of moths throughout the summer. So, just enjoy the flights and try to learn how to identify the different species under the Insect Family Noctuidae. For help with moth identification, please see Dr. Jerry Fauske’s website of "Moths of North Dakota."




The cool, rainy weather earlier this week helped slow down the flea beetle feeding "frenzy" on canola, temporarily. On Tuesday afternoon in Minot, the weather has warmed up and the feeding activity has resumed again. Fortunately, the duration of feeding activity may be shorter this year due to the warm temperatures. Observations of seed treatment performance indicate that the higher rates of seed treatments, like Helix Xtra, are working well in low-heavy pressure areas across North Dakota. Where flea beetle pressures are very heavy, like Langdon, a Capture spray was needed over some fields with seed treatments. Some observations from areas with heavy flea beetle pressure include:



Pheromone trap catches for diamondback moth have been low so far.



A few reports of grasshopper nymphs hatching have been received. The early season damage will be concentrated in the field edges and grassy ditches. The lilacs are blooming, so this is a good indication of the beginning of grasshopper emergence. Start scouting fields for young grasshoppers. Remember that it is easier to control young grasshoppers at a lower insecticides rate than the late instar nymphs or adult grasshoppers.



Begin scouting of sunflower fields for early season cutworm damage - a cut plant or wilted plant if cut below the soil level. Some early planted fields are being sprayed in Bottineau County (source: M. Hutter, N. Ag. Management). The economic threshold is 25-30% stand reduction or 1 cutworm per square foot.

Janet Knodel
Area Extension Specialist Crop Protection
North Central Research Extension Center


Northeastern ND

Dry surface soils continue to provide emergence problems for shallow seeded crops such as flax and canola. Thousands of acres of canola are being reseeded to other crops due to poor stands. Flea beetles damage to canola is generally light to moderate although some fields have had a post emergence insecticide treatment especially in northern areas.

Small grain is emerging to five leaf but mostly less than three leaf stage. Corn has two leaves and soybean, sunflower and dry bean have just been planted and emerging. Seedbed moisture for soybeazn is a concern. Many drybeans have have also been shallowly planted and need a rain for good emergence. Winter wheat has good growth and is well into jointing. Pasture and hayland forage growth is less than normal.

Wild oat and broadleaf weed application treatments have started in earliest planted small grains and some canola fields are also having weed treatments applied. Green and yellow foxtail emergence is well underway as well as most other weeds. Some cutworm damage has been reported. A nice ˝" to 1" rain would be appreciated by most growers.

Terry Gregoire
Area Extension Agronomist


South-Central ND

During May 29 to June 4, area rainfall ranged from 0.44 inches at McLeod to 0.0 inches at several sites as recorded at NDAWN sites. An inch or more of rainfall would be welcome throughout the region, especially for late-planted crops not yet emerged. Subsoil moisture is adequate. Soybean, dry bean, and sunflower planting should be completed in areas north of I94 during the first full week of June. Some replanting of corn, canola, flax, mustard and soybean continues. The cool, early season and currently dry weather have reduced pasture and forage production. Livestock producers will likely be planting significant acres of emergency annual forage crops and cutting some small grain fields for hay. Small grain stands generally are excellent and growth stages range from emerging to jointing. Concerns exist for emergence of late-planted crops in dry soil, especially small-seeded crops including flax and millet.

Herbicide application in small grain, corn, and field pea is in progress. Disease problems are currently on hold. Some reports of wireworm in corn and soybean have been received. Flea beetle activity needs to be monitored in canola and tame mustard fields. Very few grasshoppers have been currently detected in roadside ditches, but populations and crop injury potential will increase if the dry weather continues.

Greg Endres
Area Extension Specialist/Cropping Systems
NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center

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