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Scouting for Cutworms in Tobacco

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When to scout for cutworms in tobacco

Cutworms are a post transplant pest in tobacco and are only a concern during the first 4 weeks following transplant.

What part of the plant to scout for cutworms in tobacco

Small cutworm caterpillars may create holes in leaves, but large larvae can clip the stem of plants.

cutworm on flue-cured tobacco

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Slide Set, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company,
Creative Commons License licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

How to scout for cutworms in tobacco

Cutworms damage is generally higher at field edges and in fields which have weedy borders. Cutworms larvae are nocturnal, so areas of the field with suspected cutworm damage should be revisited in the evening or at night to confirm larval presence. Treatments will only be effective if larvae are actually present!

Cutworm thresholds

Damage from cutworms in tobacco is relatively rare and post transplant foliar insecticides can be very effective, so preventative insecticide use pretransplant is not recommended. Management is recommended if 10% of plants are clipped. If less than 10% of plants die due to insect feeding, treatment is not necessary.

Written By

Hannah Burrack, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionDr. Hannah BurrackProfessor & Extension Specialist and Director of Education & Outreach, NC PSI Call Dr. Hannah Email Dr. Hannah Entomology & Plant Pathology
NC State Extension, NC State University
Page Last Updated: 7 years ago
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