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Continue to Scout for Cutworms (05/12/16)

Cutworms are still being reported causing damage in winter wheat, spring wheat, and field peas in NW and SW North Dakota, and NE Montana.

Continue to Scout for Cutworms

Cutworms are still being reportejan.3d causing damage in winter wheat, spring wheat, and field peas in NW and SW North Dakota, and NE Montana (also see Boetel’s insect-sugarbeet article on page 3-4 and NW Area report on page 13). It is important to be vigilant scouting and to continue scouting fields until the crop is large enough to withstand cutting injury, usually several weeks after emergence. With the cooler weather forecasted this week, I received a few questions about whether cutworms will continue to feed. If soil temperatures are below 50F, most insects will become less active; however, the soil temperatures in ND are all above 50F (see NDAWN map; maximum/minimum soil temperature) and remain relatively stable compared to our air temperatures. So, this should have minimal impact on cutworm activity. Rain also will be helpful in keeping the cutworms feeding above ground resulting in better efficacy with insecticides. Cutworms are easier to control when the larvae are small (<1 inch long). Spraying for mature larvae (>1 inch long) is not recommended because they are near the end of their larval feeding stage.

See last week’s cutworm story in the Crop & Pest Report #1 (May 5, 2016) for more details about scouting and thresholds.

Janet J. Knodel

Extension Entomologist

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