Armyworms and Cutworms

Various species

  1. Symptoms: The primary symptom is defoliation of the plant. Larvae feed on leaves, chewing from the edges to the midrib, or on the spikes of cereal plants. Heavy infestations can be very destructive; larvae may climb the plant and sever the neck just below the spike. Some species may be found feeding at the soil surface, others underground feeding on roots, and still others feeding inside the stem.
  2. Life Cycle: Adult cutworms (Above left) and armyworms (below left) are moths, and the females lay eggs on leaves and leaf sheaths near the ground. These eggs hatch within a few days and initially the larvae (above right, cutworm; below right, armyworm) feed close to where they hatch. The larvae are found in cracks in the soil or under rocks during the day, feeding at night or early in the morning. In damp weather, they may feed all day.
  3. Hosts/Distribution: Larvae are generally omnivorous in attacking grasses. Species of these insects are found in most cereal-growing areas of the world.
  4. Importance: Cutworms and armyworms sporadically cause severe damage; when they do, they can devastate large areas.

Armyworm Armyworm Cutworm Cutworm