Black cutworm, Agrotis ipsilon (Hufnagel), is an occasional corn, Zea mays L., pest that is attracted to no-till fields. Understanding the phenology of black cutworm in Ontario no-till corn, particularly the time of arrival of adults in relation to the onset of crop damage and the stages of larvae that coincide with vulnerable corn seedling leaf stages, is important for their effective control. Pheromone and blacklight trap captures of moths first occurred in early April, whereas significant influxes did not occur until mid- to late April. Males and females were often captured simultaneously, in contrast to findings in Iowa and Illinois where males were captured in pheromone traps on average 3 wk ahead of females or males in blacklight traps. This may be a reflection of a more mature source population for the influxes into Ontario because first captures also were later than in the United States. Females arrived mated and corn seedling cutting occurred within 137 degree-days (DD) (base 10.4°C) of first capture in Ontario corn. Cutworms were present in cornfields before planting, and the mean age of larvae increased along with corn leaf stage, suggesting that no new recruitment took place after planting. The apparent synchrony between corn and cutworm phenology in the northern areas of corn production seems more related to the availability and quality of food for young larvae relative to the development of the crop then the time of arrival of moths.
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Vol. 98 • No. 5