Winter Cutworms

By December 16, 2016Misc/Other

When winter hits the Northwest, you might sigh with relief thinking your pest problems have taken a break until the springtime. Sadly, this may not be the case. On the whole, most pests hibernate or die off in cold conditions, thus giving us a breather from annoying insects and pests for a season. This is not the case however, with the winter cutworm. The cutworm, which isn’t a worm at all and related more closely to caterpillars, does not hibernate in the winter. Instead, it remains active, causing damage to your garden all season long.


Photo Credit: Oregon State University

The nitty gritty about cutworms

Cutworms are an invasive species, originating from Europe, they somehow made their way to Nova Scotia in 1979 where they have spread across Northern U.S. Cutworms are actually the larvae of the cutworm moth. It is a hairless, brown caterpillar that can reach 3 inches in length. In its adult stage as a cutworm moth, it is able to spread extensively as it flies to gardens and farms where its eggs can hatch and the larvae can eat unrestricted. If your garden is where they decide to lay their eggs, the cutworm infestation you’ll soon have could destroy every beautiful and delicious bit of vegetation you love.

Winter cutworm impact in the Northwest

The winter cutworm is studied and researched by many universities in the United States and especially the Northwest. University of Oregon makes as much headway as it can each year, researching ways to stop its destruction and decimation of the crops in the Northwest. Cutworms hide during the day, coming out at night where they cut the plant down from the base. Overnight, an army of cutworms can mow down a large patch of plants, vegetation and crops. It looks like a mini lawn mower has chopped everything down at the base. The effects can be devastating to the agriculture of the Northwest and in your own garden, completely disheartening after you work so hard to make it look beautiful.

How to fight back

Cutworm moths might be seen in the summer flying by evening porch lights. They lay their eggs in masses which then disperse into gardens causing homeowners to panic when they are sighted. No vegetable or flower garden is safe when they are nearby. One way to reduce cutworms is to clear debris, weeds and grasses from your garden. This reduces the habitat and food favored by cutworms. Tilling your garden in the early spring can kill cutworms and pupae exposing them to weather and predators such as birds that can assist you in cutworm prevention. Since cutworms needs to completely encircle a plant stem to cut it from the base, placing a metal nail or wooden stick close to the stem base, prevents the cutworm’s ability to chop the plant down.

Professional pest control in Oregon

Pointe Pest Control is experienced in pest prevention and pest control. We can reduce the stress of this aggravating pest. We effectively remove pests from your garden and home giving you greater peace of mind. To ensure a pest free home and yard, scheduling routine inspections and treatments is key so call us today for all your Oregon pest control needs.