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Winter conditions encouraged army cutworm population in western Nebraska PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Thursday, 24 April 2014 00:00

By Carolyn Lee

The Imperial Republican

Winter conditions in western Nebraska have been conducive to the overwintering of some insects. Army cutworms have made a showing in northwest Kansas and southwest Nebraska.

That’s according to Robert Tigner, Southwest Four Extension Agent for the University of Nebraska in Imperial.

He said the army cutworm has been spotted in wheat in Kansas east of Bird City, and in lawns near Trenton. “I found some in northeast Dundy-Hayes County,” he added, on April 10.

“They’re looking for fresh vegetation and grass,” he explained. Army cutworms are the larvae of the miller moths that laid eggs in the bare soil of fields or in heavily grazed pastures in the fall.

As conditions gradually warm up, insect activity will increase and growers should be scouting for insects, particularly the cutworms, in wheat and alfalfa.

“Most fields are looking good” now, Tigner said, but producers should be on the lookout for the army cutworms.

“We might have gotten lucky because we got several bouts of cold weather which may have reduced populations,” Tigner noted.

He said the economic threshold to spray for the insects is four larvae per square foot.

However, for stressed, thin stands of wheat or for newly established alfalfa stands, use a threshold of two or more larvae per square foot.

Tigner can be reached at (308) 882-4731 for advice on what insecticides to apply to the pests.