Source: University of Missouri
Black cutworms particularly favor late-planted corn, according to Wayne Bailey, University of Missouri. Moths began migrating into Missouri about two weeks ago. Upon arrival, female moths will lay eggs on a variety of vegetative materials and soil surfaces although winter annuals such as henbit and chickweed are favored egg laying sites.
Black cutworms grow through several larval stages as they develop from eggs to an adult moth. Smaller instars will often leaf feed causing minor defoliation of corn seedlings, but damage increases significantly as the larvae grow to 4th instar or larger stages and begin cutting plants. The predicted date of first cutting may change by location as current 2010 meteorological data are entered into the model.