- Where possible tolerate some damage from these insects
- Encourage predators and other natural enemies of caterpillars, in the garden, such as birds, ladybirds, wasps (social and parasitoid) and ground beetles. The caterpillars, and associated moths, can be important as a food source for garden wildlife.
- The adult moths often prefer to lay eggs where there is a dense vegetation cover, and so they occur in the largest numbers in neglected areas or where turf has been dug up to make a vegetable or flower bed
- Cultivation can briefly expose the grubs to some predators, such as birds
- Remove caterpillars from soil as they are found
- Good weed control will help reduce alternative hosts
- Cutworms are very vulnerable to rain or irrigation when young. Well watered vegetable plots are often free of damage
- A warning service is used by commercial growers to apply timely irrigation
- Crops grown beneath fleece or insect-proof mesh are less likely to be affected
A mixture of nematode species for controlling caterpillars and some other vegetable pests is sold as Fruit and Vegetable Protection and is available from some biological control suppliers. To be effective the nematodes need to be watered into moist soil while soil temperatures are in the range of 12-20ºC (54-68ºF) as soon as possible after purchase/delivery. These temperatures occur between April and September. Nematodes should be applied as soon as possible after purchase, following the suppliers’ instructions. It may be necessary to water the soil before and after application to ensure the soil is sufficiently moist for nematode activity and survival. Repeat application may be necessary.
There are no pesticides available to the home gardener suitable for use against cutworms.
Biological control suppliers (pdf document)