Greasy cutworm eat and damage a wide variety of host plants such as tomatoes, beans, brassicas, corn and grass.
Identify the problem
Young cutworm caterpillars are brown to greyish. When larger the larvae are dark grey with two yellow stripes above, and light grey below. Fully grown larvae may be up to 50 mm long. When well fed the larger larvae are plump, and the skin has a shiny, greasy appearance.
Young larvae feed on leafy growth until they are about one-third grown. At about this time their colour darkens to the typical greasy grey. They then descend to the ground, where they tunnel into the soil, emerging at night to feed, frequently dragging vegetation into their tunnels. It is the larger stages of greasy cutworm that do the majority of damage.
Caterpillars of all stages are likely between December and March.
To get rid of greasy cutworm follow these steps:
- At early signs spray plants being attacked by young stages with Organic Caterpillar BioControl.
- If tunnels caused by larger cutworm caterpillars in soil are observed apply LawnPro Protect or LawnPro Lawnguard Granules at the rate of 100 g per 40 m2. Ideal for use from spring to late autumn. The granules must be watered in, so sprinkle before moderate to heavy rain (13mm) or water the area thoroughly after treatment with a sprinkler.
- To control adult moth spray foliage of affected trees and shrubs with PLANThealth Spectrum or Insect Hit between November and February.