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The larvae or caterpillars of some moths are called cutworms (Agrotis, Amathes, Peridroma, Prodenia spp.) because of the manner in which they cut down young plants as they feed. The adults are night-flying moths which feed on nectar, if at all, and do no damage. There are many species of cutworms. While they all feed on plants by chewing, they vary as to damage done and host plants preferred. Generally they destroy more of the plant than they eat.


A few of the many cutworms common in Maine

army cutworm larva black cutworm larva variegated cutworm larva
Army cutworm larva Black cutworm larva Variegated cutworm larva
army cutworm adult black cutworm adult variegated cutworm adult
Army cutworm adult Black Cutworm adult Variegated cutworm adult

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[Photos, left to right: Frank Peairs, Colorado State University,; Frank Peairs, Colorado State University,; Frank Peairs, Colorado State University,; Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University,; Ian Kimber,; Ian Kimber,]

It is the policy of the State of Maine to minimize reliance on pesticides. The Maine Department of Agriculture and the Maine IPM Council encourage everyone to practice integrated pest management and to use pesticides only as a last resort. The mention of pesticides in the fact sheets linked to these pages does not imply an endorsement of any product. Be sure that any product used is currently registered and follow all label directions.