A caterpillar pest found mainly on bentgrass golf greens. The larval stage appears as a smooth bodied, dark coloured caterpillar with longitudinal lines and brown to black spots on back and sides. When mature the adult black cutworm metamorphoses into a brown moth with a wing span up to 55mm. The fore-wings are purple brown with black markings and hind-wings are grey with brown markings.
Biology and Lifecycle
Adult moths lay their eggs in clusters in turfgrass at night and are attracted to the light making turf surfaces around night-lit buildings more susceptible. Cutworm larvae hatch and usually feed during the night and take shelter during the day. These larvae typically cut of young plants at the crown level and pull them into a burrow before feeding hence the name cutworm. Cutworms have two generations per year and overwinter as pupae. Some species of cutworm produce enough generations that adult moths are present throughout the year.