Extension, Cooperative


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© 1993, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


This NebGuide describes the life cycle of the army cutworm and pale western cutworm, and provides recommendations for management.

The army cutworm, Euxoa auxiliaris, and the pale western cutworm, Agrotis orthogonia, are sporadic pests that are distributed throughout the Great Plains. The army cutworm can be found throughout Nebraska, but is more common in the western half of the state. Because of the drier environment, the pale western cutworm is found only in the western third of Nebraska. Both cutworms can feed on a vast array of crops and weeds. Their major economic impact is limited to winter wheat and alfalfa, because these are the vulnerable crops growing in the early spring when larval feeding activity occurs. However, they can also cause substantial damage to early spring row crops (sugarbeets and corn), especially in areas where winter cereal cover crops are used.