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Insects

            

CUTWORMS

CUTWORMS
Cutworms are hairless I- to 2-inch-long gray to brown caterpillars. These moth larvae may have markings on their bodies. Cutworms rest just beneath the soil surface or in clods of soil and plant debris. They feed mainly at night and curl into a C-shape if disturbed.

SIGNS Seedlings are cut off at or below the soil surface. Some species chew holes in foliage or strip a plant. Young plants wilt and die if roots are damaged.

SIGNS Seedlings are cut off at or below the soil surface. Some species chew holes in foliage or strip a plant. Young plants wilt and die if roots are damaged.

PREDATORS Parasitic wasps.

CONTROL Protect seedlings by sinking collars into the ground around plants. Use sticky bands to prevent climbing. At night, cultivate lightly near damaged plants or flood infested gardens to force cutworms to the soil surface, then handpick. Plant seedlings rather than sowing seed. Eliminate weeds. If the garden is near a weedy field, dig a trench or bury a barrier around the garden to inhibit larvae moving into the garden. Remove debris and cultivate at season's end.