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Cass County Extension

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Cutworms are a common early season garden insect which will require control. You'll have a hard time seeing them since most of them are night feeders which hide beneath clumps of soil and litter during the day. The most common cutworms are those which cut off your plants at soil level and leave the tops lying on the ground nearby. Climbing cutworms move up onto you plants at night and feed on the foliage. If cutworms are present, they should be within 1 to 2 inches of the damaged plant and not more than 1 to 3 inches down in the soil. The worms are dirty-gray in color and will normally be found in a C-shaped position. They may range from to 1 inches in length.

Cutworms can do a lot of damage to your garden and usually require control. In the normal sized home garden, cutworms can be kept away from plants, especially the transplants, by using a mechanical type control. Milk cartons, cans or various other open ended containers can be used. However, if you have a large garden, insecticides may be needed to control the cutworms. Sevin (carbaryl) 5% bait may be used and should be sprinkled on the soil surface at the rate of one pound per 100 square feet. You can also use liquid or dust applications of either Sevin or Diazinon. Other insecticides labeled for cutworms such as Tempo can also be used, but only for plants listed on the label. The active ingredient in Tempo is available in Bayer Advanced Garden Multi-Insect Killer.  When using insecticide, mix and apply according to label directions. Be sure to read and understand all label directions before using any pesticides.

Todd Weinmann, Extension Horticulturist & Master Gardener Coordinator
Phone: (701) 241-5707

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