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Posted 29 April 2013. PMN Crop News.

Penn State Extension Monitors Insect Populations to Determine When Levels are Economically Damaging

Pheromone traps were placed outside across the state to record black cutworm populations

Source: Penn State University Press Release.

University Park, Pennsylvania (April 10, 2013)--Black cutworm is a pest to several agricultural crops, including corn. Most black cutworms overwinter in the southern portion of the United States and migrate north into Pennsylvania late winter or early spring. Female black cutworms lay their eggs in weed patches and on debris prior to corn planting.


As the days become warmer, black cutworms hatch from their eggs and begin feeding on corn. Typical damage caused by this insect is corn plants cut off just above the soil surface. If the soil is dry, black cutworms will chew the corn off just below the soil surface, causing the plants to wilt and die.

The purpose of the pheromone traps is to monitor the population of black cutworms throughout the state of Pennsylvania. Once the population of black cutworms reaches economically damaging levels, control of the insects is necessary. Growers can monitor black cutworm populations, as well as other insect populations, on PestWatch.

More information about black cutworms is available at