Start Scouting For Black Cutworm

May 29, 2014

After significant flights of black cutworm moths were observed across parts of the state this spring, growers are advised to scout their corn fields for black cutworm feeding.

Regular readers will recall that Penn State’s Black Cutworm Monitoring Network detected seven “significant flights” of black cutworm moths this spring. With degree accumulations approaching 300 (see the table below for details), this coming week is the time in southern, central, and northeastern Pennsylvania to scout corn fields for cutting damage. Sites in north central Pennsylvania still have about a week or so before we expect cutting damage to peak, but given the early heavy flights, we recommend that growers watch their fields closely.

The sites where we caught significant numbers of moths are near Kutztown (Berks County), near Montoursville (Lycoming County), near Pine Grove Mills (Centre County), Wysox (Bradford County), and three in north central PA near St. Marys (Elk County), near Kane (McKean County), near Risser (Potter County). The flights mean that these parts of the state are at a higher risk than usual for black cutworm damage, but we are trying to make all growers across Pennsylvania aware of the risk of damage.

The degree-day accumulations for these sites with significant flights are available on the PA-PIPE and are listed below as of the end of the day on May 26. Recall that few Bt hybrids are strong against black cutworm and insecticidal seed treatments do not protect well against this pest species. Scouting and rescue treatments are usually the most efficient and economical tactic for managing black cutworm. For more information, see our fact sheet.


Date of significant flight

Degree days accumulated as of May 19


April 28



May 5



April 21



May 15



April 24



May 15



May 15


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