Below is a picture of a clover cutworm commonly identified by its lime green color and a series of 5 stripes running down its body.
In this next picture you can see the same cutworm curled up in the "C" position which is how you commonly find them after being disturbed. It also shows the pro legs located on the underside of the body.
You may have seen cutworm damage in your field before and wondered how they "cut" the leaf surface so clean to make it look as if the area had been mowed off. That is because of the cutworms aggressive feeding habits and its exceptional mouth parts that allow it to cut clean through a leaf. If you find a larger area of damage, that happened very rapidly sometimes over night, it could be from army worms which are a type of cutworm. The army worm gets its name from moving in mass numbers, like an army, and feeding in a line across the field.
Below is a short time lapse video taken in our office to show you how quickly these pests can feed on a crop. This is a wheat plant that is just getting its second leaf out and as you will see it wont last long. This time lapse was taken over 6 minutes and 15 seconds and compressed into a shorter version.
Hopefully this information gives you a little better understanding of cutworms and the problems that they can cause. The key to staying on top of the problem is continuously scout and monitor for damage. If you have any questions please contact your field man, and as always thanks for visiting our page!