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Eco-friendly Cutworm Control

No, it wasn’t the ornery neighborhood kids that clipped your new transplants off at the base.  It was likely the result of the sneaky cutworm. 

These worm-like insects are the caterpillar stage of several different night-flying moths.  The caterpillars feed on plant stems at or just below the surface.  Though they may be present all season, it’s the young tender transplants that can be severely damaged or killed.

Newly established and weedy gardens are at the greatest risk.  Watch for and destroy these pests in late afternoon or evening when they are most active.

And protect young transplants from cutworms by creating a circular barrier around the stem.  Wrap the stem in foil or use sections of the cardboard cores from paper towel or toilet paper rolls.  Or remove the bottom from yogurt containers or similar materials to make cutworm collars.  Sink them several inches into the soil, leaving at least 2 inches above the ground

A bit more information:  Barriers are great ways to control other insects.  Cover cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and cauliflower plants with floating row covers like ReeMay or Harvest Guard at planting to prevent cabbage worm damage.  The fabric lets air, light, and water through but prevents the moths from laying eggs that will soon hatch into hungry caterpillars, on the plants.