WOOSTER, Ohio — A migrating moth that can cause significant stand loss in corn is just one of the pests growers should be on the lookout for as they gear up for spring planting.
Black cutworms have been reported in Indiana and Pennsylvania in significant numbers in traps set up by entomologists to determine the number of moths migrating from the south, said Andy Michel, an Ohio State University Extension pest expert.
The pest, while not a widespread problem in Ohio, prefers to infest fields with significant ground cover and weed presence.
“It’s hard to predict where an infestation may occur (because) black cutworm is a migratory moth and wherever they land, they land,” he said. “With black cutworm, growers can find significant injury especially after planting, right when the corn is starting to emerge.
“If you do have an infestation, you could have some significant stand loss, with areas that may need replanting or rescue treatments.”
The concern for this pest is that the migrating moth lays eggs in cornfields, which can cause severe cutting of the plant, Michel said. The resulting stand loss in corn is generally associated with below- or at-ground level feeding injury, which occurs below the growing point, he said.
Another pest growers can look out for is the seedcorn maggot, which can impact both corn and soybeans, Michel said.
This pest also tends to be found in fields with heavy organic matter or recently tilled-under alfalfa, hay or wheat fields. Growers who find seedcorn maggots can control the pests with insecticidal seed treatments or commercially applied insecticide seed treatments, he said.
Lastly, growers who find seedcorn maggots in their fields can delay planting by three to four weeks in a field that has green cover tilled under, Michel said. That should be ample time for seedcorn maggots to have finished their larval stage, which would limit damage.
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