The cutworm: How to get rid of this pest
We are receiving an alarming number of calls from the public across the Perth area in Autumn with a pest called cutworm invading their lawns.
The fact is that these pests can strike any time of year and do some serious damage. So what is cutworm and how concerned should you be if you have it?
It’s Not Really a Worm
Surprising to many is the fact that the cutworm isn’t really a worm at all. It is actually a caterpillar, technically speaking. It is typically yellow, green, brown or grey and has stripes.
This moth larvae hides under the soil so you won’t necessarily see it during the day. However, if you are curious, you may be able to see your cutworms if you scratch the surface of the dirt near the damaged areas.
At night, the cutworm comes out of hiding and feeds on your grass. Due to the fact that it often attacks the stems of plants, it got its name “cutworm.”
The Cutworm Lifecycle
The life cycle of a cutworm is normally around 28 days. Here’s how it works. The moth flies into your lawn and deposits its larvae. Soon thereafter, you will begin to discover leaf damage and castings from the caterpillar. They can actually do a lot of damage in a short period of time. They tend to do the most damage in autumn.
Do You Definitely Have Cutworms?
There is a simple way to see if you really have cutworm in your lawn. After dark, simply pour warm soapy water on the damaged area and shine a torch. If you have cutworms, they will wriggle to the surface.
How to Get Rid of Cutworms
The quickest and most effective way to eradicate them is to use insecticides on your lawn. We recommend 50-100mls or grams of Bifenthrin. You can get Bifenthrin from any Hardware store or nursery. Just combine it in a watering can with 10 litres of water.
Water over the affected areas where you have seen cutworm damage. Then turn sprinklers on for 5 minutes. Try to do this routine either at sunset or late afternoon.
Next just repeat this simple process in 7-14 days. (By the way, this same mix we described above can also be used for black beetles!)
After 7-14 days, apply 30 grams per m2 of a good quality maintenance fertiliser. You can also use Sulphate of Ammonia (30grams per m2) to give your lawn a boost.
If you follow these steps, you should be able to get rid of your cutworm problem in no time. Remember to feel free to contact Greenacres if you need any additional advice on your lawn. We’re always happy to assist our customers.