The Bronze Cutworm, also known as Nephelodes mimians, is a lawn insect affecting fine and tall fescues, all species of bluegrass, and ryegrasses lacking endophytes. The Bronze Cutworm can be found throughout much of the continental United States, although typically not further west than the Rocky Mountains.
Identifying Bronze Cutworm -
As an adult, Bronze Cutworm takes a moth-like form. It is purple-gray to brown in color and features a wide dark brown band across the center of the front wings. As larvae, they take a caterpillar-like form: fat-bodied and light- to dark brown colored on the upper body with a distinct bronze sheen. A broad yellow stripe runs down the center of the body, from head to tail, and complimentary stripes run along either side of the center stripe. The larvae also feature a dark brown collar with three white bars located behind the head.
Bronze Cutworm larvae feed deep into the plant crowns. Large quantities of this lawn insect can consume large areas of turf, resulting in a general thinning appearance. Symptoms of Bronze Cutworm include clipped leaves, piles of green fecal pellets and larvae present in the thatch. In colder climates, damage can be done under snow cover or symptoms can be mistaken for severe cases of snow mold or winter kill. Birds will often peck at the ground to feed on these insects and are a good indicator that this pest is present.
Bronze Cutworm Life Cycle -
Generally, Bronze Cutworm overwinters as eggs. The eggs may hatch during warm periods of the winter but most do not emerge until spring. The larvae can feed on turf under the cover of snow and larval development is completed by early to mid-June. There is only one generation of Bronze Cutworm per year.
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