PMN Crop News Homepage   

Posted 29 July 2013. PMN Crop News.

Western Bean Cutworm Moths Are Flying

Source: Penn State University Press Release.

University Park, Pennsylvania (July 23, 2013)--Western bean cutworm populations are being monitored statewide again this year Again this year Penn State Extension is operating our Western Bean Cutworm Monitoring Network. This pest species has been present in Pennsylvania for at least four years now, but we have yet to receive any reports of infestations of caterpillars. Last year we captured about 1300 moths, which was quite an increase from the 350 moths we captured statewide in 2011. This year through July 22, we have collected about 100 moths in our pheromone traps, which is down substantially from last year at this point.


As a reminder, despite all the moths we have trapped, we have yet to document damage in Pennsylvania from western bean cutworm caterpillars. Indeed, we have only found a single caterpillar across the state (observed in Centre County). Western bean cutworm caterpillars prefer feeding on reproductive tissue of corn, and they are most damaging when they feed on developing kernels inside the husk. Western bean cutworm caterpillars may be mistaken for corn earworm, but unlike corn earworm, they do not have stripes down the sides of their body. Many western bean cutworm larvae can develop per ear, while corn earworm tends to have only one or two larvae per ear.

It is a bit early to expect to see any damage from this species, but we will continue to track populations across Pennsylvania and will keep folks informed of our findings. See our webpage for details on this pest and a summary of our trapping efforts for past years. We will update this soon with numbers from this year.

John Tooker