Mint-Redbacked cutworm

Euxoa ochrogaster

Pest description and crop damage Redbacked cutworm (RBC) is a key pest of mint east of the Cascades. As mint begins to send up aerial growth in the spring, larvae feed underground by day, clipping off new spring shoots at or below ground level. At night, larvae feed on and above the soil surface. In some years, damage to mint during May and early June in central Oregon has been severe enough to result in extensive stand loss in absence of larval control. It is more a problem in sandier, non-compacted soils.

Biology and life history Beginning in mid-April, larvae hatch from eggs laid by moths the previous summer. Larvae feed through June, pupate, and emerge as moths in late June and early July. Moths are active during the summer and deposit the overwintering eggs on the soil beneath plants or debris through early fall. There is one generation a year.

Scouting and thresholds About mid-May, walk fields, looking closely at new growth above ground. Wilted, clipped-off shoots indicate RBC feeding. Confirm by taking soil samples to a depth of about 2 inches, screen the soil, and record numbers of larvae observed per sq ft. An average of from two to six larvae per sq ft sample can result in economic damage and oil loss (most severe in new mint and old, poor-vigor stands).

Management-cultural control

Heavier soils often escape injury from this pest. Fall plowing destroys eggs and almost always reduces larval infestations to noneconomic levels.

Management-chemical control

  • acephate (Orthene 97) at 1 lb ai/A. PHI 14 days. REI 24 hr. Retreatment interval 7 days. Do not exceed 2 lb ai/A per season, nor make more than two applications per crop season. Apply through a specified sprinkler irrigation system or with ground spray equipment in at least 10 gal/A water. Grazing of animals on treated areas, and feeding of spent mint hay to animals are prohibited. Late evening or night applications are most effective. Apply in no more than 0.15 inch water with center pivot, wheel roll or solid set sprinkler irrigation equipment. SLN OR-090026.
  • chlorantraniliprole (Coragen) at 0.045 to 0.098 lb ai/A. PHI 3 days. REI 4 hr. Retreatment interval 14 days. Do not exceed 0.2 lb ai/A or 4 applications per calendar year. May be applied by chemigation.
  • chlorantraniliprole/thiamethoxam (Voliam Flexi) at 0.1 to 0.125 lb ai/A. PHI 7 days. REI 12 hr. Retreatment interval 14 days. Do not exceed 15 oz/A Voliam Flexi or 0.188 lb ai/A of thiamethoxam or 0.2 lb ai/A of chlorantraniliprole per season. Apply in at least 10 gal water/A (ground) or 5 gal water/A (aerial). Do not use an adjuvant.
  • methoxyfenozide (Intrepid 2F) at 0.16 to 0.25 lb ai/A. PHI 14 days. REI 4 hr. Do not apply more than 1.0 lb ai/A per year. Time applications to small larvae and egg masses.