Pale western cutworm


  • Adult: Moth that is gray or tan, ¾" long with a wingspan of 13⁄8". Undersides of wings are white.
  • Larvae: Grayish yellow in color with a distinct white stripe down the back. Grow to about 1¼" long. Head is yellow-brown with black dashes that form an inverted "V."
  • Eggs: Up to 300 are laid in the upper 2" of cultivated soil in the early fall.

Timing of damage: Early in the season

Type of damage: Young plants cut off below the soil surface, or dead older plants.

Scouting: Monitor adult populations for eight to 10 weeks in the fall using pheromone or light traps. 

Economic threshold: More than 200 adults trapped within the eight to 10 week period.

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