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  Black cutworm moth activity has started across some areas in the Midwest. On April 4th, Purdue University reported that although numbers are low, black cutworm moths have been detected in some pheromone traps across the state. A few moths have also been observed in Illinois and soon the Illinois Pest Survey Monitoring System will be providing updates on black cutworm moth activity across the state. These updates are very important as they will provide some guidance on scouting activities and when degree day accumulation for this pest should be started. The cutting damage to corn (when the base of seedlings is clipped at about soil surface) begins when 300 pest degree days have accumulated following the first significant moth flight of 9 or more moths for two consecutive nights.   Black cutworm moths do not overwinter in the Midwest, but instead migrate into the area in April and May on storm fronts and prevailing southwesterly winds.  Adult moths are nocturnal, large bodied, and dark grey in color, with a black dagger-like marking on the outer forewing (below).  Females lay eggs in masses of 10-30 near food sources such as grassy habitats, low areas of fields, soybean residues, and areas of winter annual weeds. BCW larvae are gray to nearly black in color with a greasy appearance, a pale band along the top of their bodies and paired spots of uneven size along the sides (below). Keep your eyes open as we start getting busy planting.