CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Is your corn up yet? If not, why is it not? You’re behind schedule, and somebody who knows about that is mama cutworm moth because she has laid all of her eggs all through your field so her babies would have something to eat. And they are going to be hungry, if they are not already. Kelly Estes of University of Illinois Extension looks after these critters. And Kelly, these little guys crawling around, they are looking for food. They are hungry.

“It is,” Estes said. “It is the time of year when insects are becoming more prevalent here in our yards, but also in our cornfields, and one of the first pests we deal with every year is black cutworm. This is something that migrates into the state from the south every year, starting in mid April or so, and what we do here is monitor them through our trapping network starting at the beginning of April. With the goal of determining when our biggest moth flights are. What we are looking for are significant flights of 8 or more moths over a two night timeframe. When we have those significant flights we can use degree days we can predict and project when potentially larvae will be out in the field and large enough to be cutting plants in the area.

What does that timing tell you? When are these guys going to be ready for some food?

“So we have had significant flights over the state in the last two weeks, and we are predicting, especially here in east central Illinois right around the May 27th, May 29th timeframe we should start potentially seeing plants being cut,” Estes said. “Not to say that we could see little feeding, pinholes in corn leaves and things like that, just prior to, and our predictions do give us a window, but we encourage people to scout before and after that time frame.”

They are going to be hungry and they want somebody to buy their dinner. That’s a look at our report from the farm. I’m Stu Ellis with WCIA-3, your local news leader.