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Winter Cutworm (Noctua Pronuba)

Cutworm on the snow
Cutworm on the snow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo credits 

Fun fact: 

Outbreaks of this species in Michigan were accompanied with cats and dogs eating numerous larvae, passing whole larvae through their digestive systems but also becoming ill and vomiting them.

 

cutworms snow
Cutworms on the snow

“I don’t think this species has ever been studied in the Prairies, although it does occur here,” says Vincent Hervet, Integrated Pest Management Extension Specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. 

This is a large species of cutworm native from Eurasia (and the type species of the family “Noctuidae”). It was first detected in North America in 1979 and in Alberta in 2001. So far it has principally caused problems to crops in Michigan and surrounding areas where it occurs in large numbers. But increasing numbers in the west are cause for concern. It is mainly a pest of vegetables, but it is a generalist feeder it can be damageable to numerous plant species when occurring in large enough numbers. Larvae are particularly tolerant to cold temperatures and remain active over the winter. 

Additional Reading 

Oregon State University

University of Idaho

Michigan State University