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Cutworms Showing Up In Corn
Author: Glenn Studebaker, Extension Entomologist/IPM Coordinator

We are getting an increasing numbers of calls about cutworms showing up in corn. It appears that there are several species showing up in corn fields this year. We have seen both black cutworms as well as variegated cutworms in the same field. Cutworms tend to be worse in minimum or no-till fields, particularly fields that had a late burn-down application leaving some weeds in the field just prior to planting. However, we are seeing some in fields that were relatively clean prior to planting. In some instances the worms are hitting plants below the soil surface just above the roots. Instead of finding plants cut off in the field, we’re seeing seedlings dying back, or leaves on one side of the plant dying. When the plant is dug up, feeding damage can be seen on the stem below the soil surface. Digging up the soil around the plant often uncovers a cutworm moving down the seed furrow. We’ve seen some fields exibiting stand loss levels as high as 25% in some areas of the field. Growers should consider treating fields when stand loss approaches 10%. Pyrethroids work very well for cutworm control. Growers should consult the field corn section MP144 “Insecticide Recommendations For Arkansas” for a complete list of recommended insecticides and rates.

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