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Bug of the Month


Winter cutworm

Larval winter cutworm will be active on mild winter days.

Kevin Floate reminds us that the winter cutworm is present on the prairies and larval feeding takes place during mild winter days (>= 7C).  It causes damage to alfalfa, rye, and winter wheat in the US; no reports of damage in Canada. It might be because the species is relatively new to Canada or it hasn’t reached pest status due to colder temperatures in Canada.

It will over winter in the larval stage and reach maturity in spring/early summer.

Winter cutworm adult also known as yellow underwing moth. Credit: Stephen Youngs

Adults lay eggs July to October in all kinds of plants from weeds to vegetables and everything in between. The larva will eat roots or climb up to the canopy.

Canadian farmers will want to watch for this potential pest and report it to the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network if they find it. It first came to North America in 1979 when it showed up in Nova Scotia.

See pages 68-69 in Cutworm Pests of Crops on the Canadian Prairies