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Alert - Seedcorn Maggot and Black Cutworm Threats

Alert - Seedcorn Maggot and Black Cutworm Threats

By Andi Anderson

Michigan State University Extension has reported sightings of seedcorn maggot in soybeans, prompting a reminder to monitor fields for potential infestations. Additionally, the threat of black cutworm cutting in cornfields warrants attention, particularly in areas with heavy winter annual weed presence.

Seedcorn maggots, which overwinter as adult flies, emerge in late March to mid-April, attracted to decaying organic matter for egg-laying. The larvae feed on this material, potentially damaging seeds planted early in the same locations.

By mid-May, pupation occurs, with first generation adults emerging later. The Enviroweather seedcorn maggot model assists in monitoring and predicting infestation risks.

Agronomic situations attractive to seedcorn maggot egglaying and infestation include tilling in alfalfa or other legumes, living green grass cover, and heavy winter annual weed growth.

Seed treatments offer some protection, but their efficacy diminishes with high pest pressure. Replanting maggot-ravaged fields may not warrant additional insecticidal seed treatments, especially if conditions are favorable for rapid seed emergence.

Black cutworm cutting is another concern, particularly in fields with recently treated winter annual weeds. Monitoring and timely intervention are crucial to mitigate potential crop damage.

Understanding pest life cycles, risk factors, and management strategies is essential for effective crop protection. Farmers should remain vigilant and implement appropriate measures to safeguard soybean and corn crops from seedcorn maggot and black cutworm infestations.

Photo Credit: gettyimages-studio2013

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Categories: Michigan, Crops, Corn, Soybeans

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