Cutworms- The variegated cutworm, Peridroma saucia
Damage caused by the variegated cutworm
After hatching from eggs, young larvae of the variegated cutworms generally feed on crop foliage. In case of severe infestation, larvae can completely defoliate and destroy the plants. Larvae of variegated cutworms are very active and cause most of the damage during nights.
Adults: Adult moths of the the variegated cutworms are reddish brown to gray in color with darker spots on their forewings.
Eggs: Eggs are round in shape and whitish in color.
Larvae/Caterpillars: These cutworms also called climbing cutworms because their larvae can climb trees and shrubs. Larvae are brownish gray in color with diamond shaped marks on the dorsal side of the entire body. Larvae are about 1.5 to 2 inches long. When disturbed, these larvae forms “C” shaped coil.
The variegated cutworms overwinter as pupae in south. After emerging from pupae, adults will migrate towards north. During migration, moths will lay eggs on the underside of the leaves of different grass and weed species during May through June. Larvae start feeding on the leaves of different crops until they mature and pupate in the soil. Adults emerge from pupae, lay eggs and continue their life cycle. The variegated cutworms will complete 3-4 generations in a year depending upon the location.