Featured Photo

3.1.08 sr: notes ana: match the host plants list with the respective datasheets; although cutworms have many host plants, they are no major pests of all of them, therefore they have not been included in all datasheets of the above mentioned crops; s. by monitoring and decision making: pheromone traps are not available locally. economic threshold for which crop? where? under which conditions?;

A.M. Varela, icipe
Is this a Minor Pest?
Minor Pest Title

Cutworms (Agrotis spp., Spodoptera spp.)

Minor Pest Description

Cutworms are the caterpillars of various moths, belonging mostly to the genus Agrotis. Young caterpillars feed on leaves making small holes. After few days they drop to the soil where they live until pupation. Caterpillars remain in the soil during the daytime coming out at night to feed. They cut stems of young seedlings at the level of the soil, killing them and affecting establishment of the crop. Some Spodoptera species, in particular S. littoralis act sometimes as cutworms.

Caterpillars, in particular under hot conditions, hide during the day in the soil around the base of the plants, and may cut them, especially seedlings, at the base of the stem. At night they climb into plants to feed.


Minor Pest What to do.
  • Eliminate weeds early, well before transplanting.
  • Plough and harrow the field to expose cutworms to natural enemies and desiccation.
  • Dig near damaged seedlings and destroy cutworms.
  • Conserve natural enemies. Parasitic wasps and ants are important in natural control of cutworms.
Minor Pest Position
Minor Pest Firstcontent
Pest Type
Common names; The common cutworm, turnip moth ([i]Agrotis segetum[/i]); the greasy cutworm, black cutworm, tobacco cutworm ([i]Agrotis ipsilon[/i])
Host Plants