….Cutworms and armyworms, that is. Many studies report increased activity of these pests in years following record rainfall, and moisture dependency is common. This simply means that more eggs hatch if there is sufficient moisture in the soil.
Some species I have noticed on the rise over the past few years:
Spodoptera praefica is native to the Western U.S. It is considered a generalist feeder. Larval feeding causes extensive defoliation of leaves and also fruit damage. As the name implies, these worms are gregarious (feed in groups), and therefore can cause extreme damage.
Host plants include: alfalfa, asparagus, bean, beet, cabbage, carrot, corn, clover, lettuce, onion, ornamentals, pea, potato, wheat, and many others.
Apamea cogitata is considered a pest of grasses and grains (Poaceae). It is a cutworm, and has one generation per year, usually peaking in mid-July. This species is widespread in the Northwest. One of the identifying characteristics is a pink-hued fringe on the margins of the hindwing.