Pacific Pests, Pathogens and Weeds - Online edition

Pacific Pests, Pathogens, Weeds & Pesticides

Black cutworm (297)

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  • Worldwide distribution. On maize and many vegetables (beans, cabbage, lettuce, maize, tomato, weeds, and more.
  • Young caterpillars eat leaves, older ones (up to 45 mm long) cut stems at or below soil, feeding at night. Curls if disturbed. Moth is a stronger flyer – migrates.
  • Cultural control: avoid fields with previous attacks; weed; good drainage (raised beds); check plant base (gardens: handpick; fields: spray if >5% damage); nets or row covers; grow flowering plants to attract parasites; attract moths with vinegar, sugar, water.
  • Chemical control: PDPs: derris, pyrethrum, or chilli; synthetic pyrethroids.
Common Name

Black cutworm, greasy cutworm

Scientific Name

Agrotis ipsilon. It is a member of the Noctuidae.

AUTHOR Grahame Jackson 
Information from CABI (2020) Agrotis ipsilon (black cutworm). Crop Protection Compendium. (ttps://; and from Capinera JL (2018) Agrostic ipsilon (Hufnagel). Featured Creatures: Black cutworm. UF/IFAS, University of Florida. ( Photo 1 Roger Schmidt, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Photo 2 Adam Sisson, Iowa State University, Photo 3 Ian Kimber,; Photo 4 Pest and Diseases Image Library,

Produced with support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research under project PC/2010/090: Strengthening integrated crop management research in the Pacific Islands in support of sustainable intensification of high-value crop production, implemented by the University of Queensland and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

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