Cutworms are the caterpillars of certain moth species that in their caterpillar stage live in the soil. One of the most common is the caterpilllar of the Turnip moth [Agrotis segetum ]. They tend to overwinter in the soil and become active when temperatures warm up in the spring. Their colour can be grey to brown depending on their species and they often curl up when disturbed.

Damage & Symptoms

Cutworms will attack a wide range of plants in a vegetable garden. They can feed on seedling roots causing them to collapse but will also feed on mature Cauliflower, Cabbage, Root vegetables and Lettuce and can sever the roots at ground level. They will also feed on plant stems and lower leaves. Feeding oftem occurs at night with the caterpillars returning to the soil in the day.

How to control and prevent Cutworm damage

Cultivate the land in the spring exposing the Cutworms to birds or physically remove. If this is not practical apply Cutworm Killer nematodes to the soil in the spring and summer. Nematodes provide a safe and natural way to control and kill the cutworm caterpillars.

See Cutworm Killer for more details