Western bean cutworm traps are popping up across Michigan

The week of May 13 marks the beginning of the 2012 MSU Western Bean Cutworm Trap Network.

Western bean cutworm was first detected in Michigan in 2006. Since that time, moths have been detected across Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. This pest causes yield and quality damage to both corn and edible beans.

The trapping network, coordinated by MSU Department Entomology’s Chris DiFonzo, documents the number and date of occurrence of western bean cutworm moths. While moths themselves do not damage the plants, the female moth will lay eggs on corn leaves and dry bean plants. When egg masses hatch, the larvae feed on the blossoms and pods of dry beans and enter the corn ear. Monitoring moth numbers gives us an idea of when to scout for egg masses in crops, and what management steps can be taken to prevent yield and quality damage to corn and dry beans.

The volunteers place a simple trap (Photo 1) at the edge of their corn or dry bean fields. Volunteers monitor and report the number of western bean cutworm moths (Photo 2) from now until mid- to late August.

milk jug trap
Photo 1. Milk jug trap. Photo credit: Bruce MacKellar, MSUE

Photo 2. Western bean cutworm moth.
Photo credit: Jim Donnelly, Ag View FS

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