Turfgrass-Cutworm

Primarily
Black cutworm (Agrotis ipsilon)
Variegated cutworm (Peridroma saucia)

Pest description and crop damage Adult cutworms are medium to large moths but all damage is due to larval feeding. Larvae are typically about an inch long, have a small black head and vary in color from nearly black to grey brown or multicolored in the case of variegated cutworms. Commonly found in older turf stands, particularly those dominated by bentgrass. Activity generally is confined to foliage, although at times feeding may be at ground level. Populations build as summer progresses. Actual cutworm damage to home lawns is rare, they are more of an issue on golf course putting surfaces.

Biology and life history Both species overwinter as larvae and adults emerge throughout May and June. Eggs are laid on host plants, and hatch after a few days. Young larvae feed only on foliage, although mature larvae develop a subterranean habit and may cut off plants at the surface and feed on them in their burrows. If the lawn has been aerated, cutworms may be found in the late summer and fall in these holes and damage is apparent around them.

Management-biological control

Birds can often assist in control since they will pluck them from the turf, although this in itself may be damaging to turf.

  • Bacillus thuringiensis-Some formulations are OMRI-listed for organic use.
  • beneficial nematodes-Read label carefully for application procedures, timing and appropriate soil temperatures for best efficacy.

Management-Chemical control: HOME USE

Do not permit children or pets on the treated turfgrass until it has been watered to wash the insecticide into the turf and the grass is completely dry. Most insecticides are toxic to bees exposed to direct treatment or to residues on blooming weeds/ flowers in lawns: mow and remove clippings prior to applying insecticides.

  • azadirachtin-Some formulations are OMRI-listed for organic use.
  • Beauvaria bassiana-Some formulations are OMRI-listed for organic use.
  • bifenthrin
  • carbaryl
  • chlorantranilprole
  • clothianidin
  • cyfluthrin
  • deltamethrin
  • fenvalerate
  • gamma-cyhalothrin
  • imidacloprid
  • lambda-cyhalothrin
  • malathion
  • permethrin
  • plant essential oils (clove, garlic, thyme, etc.)-Some have demonstrated efficacy against Lepidopteran larvae. Some formulations are OMRI-listed for organic use.
  • pyrethrins-Some formulations are OMRI-listed for organic use.
  • spinosad-Some formulations are OMRI-listed for organic use.

Management-Chemical control: COMMERCIAL USE

Do not permit children or pets on the treated turfgrass until it has been watered to wash the insecticide into the turf and the grass is completely dry. Most insecticides are toxic to bees exposed to direct treatment or to residues on blooming weeds/ flowers in lawns: mow and remove clippings prior to applying insecticides.

  • acephate (Orthene Turf Tree & Orn. WSP)
  • azadiractin (Azasol, Azatin, Azaguard Botanical Insecticide/Nematicide, Gordons Pro T&O Azatrol EC Insecticide, Ornazin 3% EC Botanical Insecticide, Neemix 4.5 IGR)-OMRI-listed for organic use.
  • beta-cyfluthrin (Tempo SC Ultra Insecticide, Tempo Ultra GC Insecticide, Tempo Ultra WP Insecticide, Tempo Ultra WSP Insecticide)
  • bifenthrin (Talstar GC Granular Insecticide, Talstar PL Granular Insecticide Talstar S, Select Insecticide, Onyx Pro Insecticide, Actishield, multiple label names)
  • bifenthrin + imidacloprid (Allectus G Insecticide)- Note: Neonicotinoid pesticides have been banned from use on public properties in some towns and counties (check with local authorities).
  • capsaicin + allyl isothiocyanate (Dazitol Concentrate)
  • carbaryl (Sevin Brand RP4 Carbaryl, Lebanon Sevin 7G Granular Insect Control, Sevin SL Carbaryl Insecticide)
  • chlorantraniliprole (Acelepryn Insecticide, Acelepryn G Insecticide)
  • chlorpyrifos (Andersons Golf Products Insecticide III, Dursban Pro Dursban 50W In WSP Speciality Insecticide, Hatchet Insecticide, Nufos 4E Insecticide, Vulcan, Quali-Pro Chlorpyrifos 4E Insecticide, Warhawk, Warhawk Clearform)-Retail sale of products containing chlorpyrifos for residential use ended 12/31/01.
  • clothianidin (Arena 0.25G Insecticide, Arena, 50 WG Insecticide, Arena 50 WDG Insecticide)-Apply as soon as overwintering adults are seen in the spring. Note: Neonicotinoid pesticides have been banned from use on public properties in some towns and counties (check with local authorities).
  • clothianidin + bifenthrin (Aloft GC G Insecticide, Aloft GC SC Insecticide, Aloft LC G Insecticide, Aloft LC SC Insecticide)-Restricted use.
  • cyfluthrin (Tempo 20WP Golf Course Insecticide in WSP, Tempo 20 WP Insecticide)
  • deltamethrin (Deltagard G Insecticide, D-Fense SC Insecticide, Suspend SC Insecticide)-For adults.
  • dinotefuran (Zylam)-Note: Neonicotinoid pesticides have been banned from use on public properties in some towns and counties (check with local authorities).
  • esfenvalerate (Fenvastar Ecocap)-Keep away from water sources. Not for use on sod farms or golf courses.
  • esfenvalerate + prallethrin + piperonyl butoxide (Onslaught FastCap Spider and Scorpion Insecticide)
  • gamma-cyhalothrin (Scion Insecticde, Optimate CS)
  • imidacloprid (Adonis 2F Insect Conc., AmTide Imidacloprid, Avatar PLX Insecticide, Lesco Bandit 0.5G Granular Insecticide, Lesco Bandit 2F Insecticide, Lesco Bandit 75 WSP Insecticide, Malice 0.5G, Malice 2F Insecticide, Malice 75WSP, Mallet 0.5G Insecticide, Mallet 2F Insecticide, Mallet 2F T&O Insecticide Mallet 75 WSP Insecticide, Mallet 7.1% PF Insecticide, Merit 0.5G Insecticide, Merit 2F Insecticide, Merit 75WP Insecticide, Merti 75WSP Insecticide, Midash 2SC T&O, Prokoz Zenith 0.5G Insecticide, Prokoz Zenith 2F Insecticide, Quali-Pro Imidacloprid 0.5G, Quali-Pro Imidacloprid2F T&O, Quali-Pro Imidacloprid 75 WSB Insecticide in WSP)-For larvae. Note: Neonicotinoid pesticides have been banned from use on public properties in some towns and counties (check with local authorities).
  • indoxacarb (DuPont Provaunt Insecticide, Provaunt Insecticide)-For larvae.
  • mint oil, geraniol + oil of rosemary (Keyplex Ecotrol Plus Insecticide/Miticide, Essentria IC3 Insecticide)-OMRI-listed for organic use.
  • spinosad A&D (Conserve SC Turf & Ornamental Insect Control)-For larvae. Some formulations are OMRI-listed for organic use.
  • thiamethoxam (Meridian 0.33G Insecticide, Meridian 25WG Insecticide, Flagship 25WG Insecticide)-Note: Neonicotinoid pesticides have been banned from use on public properties in some towns and counties (check with local authorities).