• Kentucky reporting large numbers of armyworm moths.
  • Traps in Indiana are catching inordinate numbers of black cutworm moths.
  • Crop scouting will be emphasized in the next couple weeks.

NOAA maps

Armyworm pheromone traps monitored by the University of Kentucky have been catching an impressive early moth flight for several weeks.

Doug Johnson, UK Extension Entomologist, has been helpful in disseminating this information to alert of the potential impact this may have on hay, small grain, and corn crops.

Very soon, grassy crops in extreme southern Indiana should be monitored for leaf defoliation and small armyworm larvae hiding under the soil surface residues during the day. This is especially true where grass-hay and wheat are thick and lush, this presents a favorite egg-laying location for moths.

Our black-light trapping at the Purdue Agricultural Research Centers, which began this week, will soon give us an indication of moth activity in Indiana, we’ll have those updates in following Pest & Crop issues.

As mentioned in the last Pest & Crop, our pheromone trap cooperators throughout the state were just beginning to catch a few black cutworm moths.

However, this past week there have been multiple intensive captures (9 or more moths captured in 2 consecutive nights) which has signaled the beginning of heat unit accumulations to predict the beginning of cutting.

Most of the significant catches occurred just after a major front moved from the Gulf States, spawning innumerous tornados, then took aim for the Midwest. The following weather maps, compliments of NOAA, depict how powerful this system was…both the jet stream and surface maps showing the storm direction on Friday, April 15.

This was a “perfect storm” for picking up black cutworm moths in the south region of the U.S. and depositing them into Indiana. What this means to our crops, most yet to be planted, will unfold in the next several weeks. However, all the green and weedy fields out there, combined with large numbers of migrating moths could combine to make life interesting.