Black cutworms do not survive Minnesota winters. They overwinter in the south and migrate up to Minnesota every spring as moths. The moths are attracted to fields with a lot of residue and lay their eggs. The larva emerge and feed on young corn plants at the soil surface or just below. A farmer or agronomist scouting corn fields will see an area of a field where many of the corn plants have been cut off.

Because a lot of tillage did not get done last fall there are many more fields with a lot of residue that are very attractive to migrating black cutworm moths. If you know when the black cutworm moths arrive you can predict when the larva will emerge. All you have to do is keep track of growing degree units after the moths arrive in Minnesota.

To predict the economic risk of economic damage and time scouting fields the University of Minnesota Cooperating Black Cutworm Trapping Network is again operating in 2019. Every day cooperators check their pheromone traps to look for moths that have migrated into Minnesota.

Farmers and agronomists can track the black cutworm moth migration in Minnesota on the University of Minnesota Extension web site. Just go to any search engine 2019 Black Cutworm Report # 1.