Agrotis ipsilon, Agrotis spp., Peridroma saucia, Chorizagrotis auxiliaris, and other species

Damage to plants

  • Stems of seedlings cut at ground level or slightly below the surface.

  • Holes in leaves and leaf margins removed, caused by feeding.

  • Cavities in the base of the stem due to feeding, resulting in plants prone to wilting and lodging.


  • Gaps in the maize stand, due to seedlings cut at the base of the stem.

  • Cavities in the lower stems of older plants.

  • Brownish-black larvae in the soil around damaged plants.

  • Wilting plants or entirely devoured plants.

  • Pearly white round eggs on plant stems or on ground around seedlings.

  • Worm frass (feces).

Factors favoring insects / pest development

  • Weedy conditions prior to planting and after crop emergence encourage build up of cutworms.

  • Presence of alternate hosts.

  • Planting maize in rotation with other host crops such as soybean and rye.

Geographic distribution

  • Worldwide distribution.