The New Student's Reference Work/Cutworm

Cutworm, caterpillar of various species of owlet moths, a worm very destructive to vegetation. Both moth and worm are nocturnal. In the latter part of summer the female moth lays her eggs on plants near the ground. The larvæ feed on tender roots of grasses and various plants, and by spring are ready to attack early vegetation. During the day they hide under the surface, and coming forth at night cut off plants close to or just under the surface. They are enemies of garden vegetables, wheat, Indian corn, oats and cereals generally. Lacking other vegetation, almost all the numerous species adopt the climbing habit, ascend grape-vines, rose and berry-bushes and trees, devouring leaf-buds and eating of the early fruit. Hodge recommends, as protection against cutworms, folding a piece of stiff paper around a plant-stem in such a manner that the paper reaches an inch into the ground and two or three inches above the surface. To save their corn-fields, the Indians used to pick the cutworms off by hand, a method still in use. Toads and robins are effective helpers in keeping down the grievous pest.