Iowa's 2015 black cutworm monitoring program needs your help

Iowa's 2015 black cutworm monitoring program needs your help

Volunteers are needed to check cutworm moth traps in fields this spring to collect data.

Black cutworm moths arrive in Iowa with spring storms each year. These moths fly into Iowa from southern states and lay eggs in fields. The eggs hatch and the emerging black cutworm larvae cut off seedling corn plants. The sporadic nature of this pest makes scouting essential to determine if management, such as an insecticide application, is needed.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: ISU Extension's black cutworm monitoring program for 2015 need volunteers to check moth traps in fields in spring to collect data on when and where cutworm moths arrive in Iowa. The data is used to predict potential outbreaks as moths lay eggs, the eggs hatch into larvae (worms) and the cutworms clip off small corn plants.

To make scouting easier, the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program at Iowa State University relies on a network of farmers, agronomists and Extension staff to place and monitor traps for the adult moths (Fig. 1). The IPM Program uses this moth capture data and temperature data to estimate when farmers are most likely to see larvae in their fields.

"This program is possible because of the volunteers who place traps and check them for cutworm moths," says Adam Sisson, and ISU Extension integrated pest management specialist. "This is why we are asking farmers, agribusiness people, and others to help out. The more data that is collected across the state, better scouting estimates can be produced."

Send in your information no later than March 27 to get a moth trap
Volunteers will be sent a cutworm trap to assemble and then monitor every other day. They will┬árecord the number of moths and post the data at least once a week. Black cutworm monitoring starts near the beginning of April and ends around the first part of June. To become a cutworm cooperator, email [email protected] with the volunteer's mailing address and questions you may have. Send your request no later than March 27 to allow enough time for shipping.

This year, there is also a unique opportunity for those planting non-Bt corn or non-Bt corn with a rye cover crop. Mike Dunbar, a research entomologist at ISU, is looking for farmers planting non-Bt corn in 2015 who would be willing to let him scout their cornfields for black cutworm and armyworm.

ISU is also looking for non-Bt corn in rye cover crop fields to scout
Fields would be scouted weekly from early April through the end of May using pheromone traps and visual counts of insects, says Sisson. Any relevant information about pest insects will be conveyed to the farmers. An acceptable field could be just a block or structured refuge of non-Bt corn. Dunbar is also looking to scout non-Bt corn in 2015 with a rye cover crop in that same field.

To participate in this non-Bt and rye cover crop field scouting opportunity, contact Mike Dunbar at [email protected] or 443-362-0875. Adam Sisson is an Integrated Pest Management Extension specialist. Sisson can be reached at [email protected] or 515- 294-5899.

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