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A Cutworm
Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Noctuidae
Genus: Agrotis
Species: A. segetum, A. ipsilon and A. exclamationis
Euxoa segetis

The term cutworm is used for the larvae of the turnip moth (Agrotis segetum, Agrotis ipsilon, Agrotis exclamationis). Most cutworms are in the moth family Noctuidae, however, many Noctuid larvae are not cutworms. Cutworms are notorious agricultural and garden pests. They are voracious leaf, bud, and stem feeders and can destroy entire plants. They get their name from their habit of "cutting" off a seedling at ground level by chewing through the stem. Some species are subterranean and eat roots. Cutworms are usually green, brown, or yellow soft-bodied caterpillars, often with longitudinal stripes, up to 2.5cm (1in) in length. There are many variations across the genera. Cutworms live just below the soil surface.

Identifying Features[edit]

Young plants are attacked at night and stems are severed at ground level. Leaves and roots may also be eaten. Plants are most at risk in June and July.


Hoe the ground around plants during June and July. Pick up and destroy any caterpillars that are brought to the surface.


Use a nematode-based insecticide.



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