by Terry Drone

Cutworm

Scientific Name for NJ Species: black cutworm, Agrotis ipsilon (Hufnagel), the spotted cutworm, Amathes c-nigrum (Linnaeus), Peridroma saucia (verigated)

 

Description

Dull-brown, gray or nearly black caterpillars that are 1 ½" - 2" long. Some cutworms are spotted, others are striped. Usually they hide in the soil during the day and feed at night. They are the larvae of night-flying brown or grayish moths. Cutworms occasionally infest lawns. They feed on the leaves or cut off the grass near the soil and may do severe damage to seedlings

 

 

 

Damage

Grass plants severed at soil surface by relatively large, 1.2 to 1.8 inch long, brownish black larvae; adult night-flying moths attracted to light; foliar chewing insect; larvae inhabit turf thatch as a resting place in a curled position; turf damage occurs in warm summer period; feed on leaf blades; night feeding caterpillars; feed around a small burrow or tunnel in the turf and carry leaf blades into the tunnel; often found after greens are aerated; often appear in early spring when temperatures are above freezing; damage appears as closely clipped grass in patterns radiating away from tunnel or hiding place; hide in tunnels during day and feed close by at night; can crawl 60 feet or more in a night; green excrement frass may be present.

 

 

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