Look how amazingly they are all lined up like pearls on a dress.
Cutworm life cycle – eggs, larvae (or caterpillar), pupae, moth. The larvae stage is the most damaging stage to crops and gardens. They often feed above and below ground, “cutting off” the plants right at root level. Most cutworms over winter underground as larvae in our area. Some go through multiple life cycles during the warm season before cold weather comes.
Control in the garden can be done in multiple ways. Picking off the larvae from plants at night, with a flash light can be very effective (dropping into can of soapy water or crushing them). By making your garden more attractive to mulitple types of insects and birds, nature can do more of the work for you. Beneficial nematodes can be applied to the soil; they will parasitize the larvae stage. Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) can be effective, but, to be effective proper identification of the type of cutworm must be made to match with the correct Bt, and Bt kills non-targeted species, as well.
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[Photo: Sandy L. Article extracts: Marian N.]