Black cutworm’s Indonesian name is "ulat tanah" and its scientific name is Agrotis ipsilon.
Black cutworm moths are about 25mm long with a wingspan of about 50mm. They have dark upper wings and white to grey lower wings. They are strong flyers and moths are active from sunset and at night.
They are attracted to weedy or vegetated areas and lay hundreds of eggs near the soil surface on living plants or organic matter.
After the eggs hatch, the young larvae feed on plants or decaying organic matter.
Mature black cutworm larvae grow to about 40mm long. They are grey to black with a brown head.
Larvae are most active at night. During the day, they burrow into soil and can be found near the bases of damaged plants.
Black cutworm larvae curl up when disturbed.
An infestation of black cutworm larvae is noticed when they chew stems of transplanted cabbage seedlings or emerging stems of potato plants which wilt and die.
If present in potato crops near harvest, black cutworm larvae will chew holes in potato tubers making them unmarketable.
When mature, black cutworm larvae burrow into the soil to about 50mm and form a cocoon. These cocoons are about 25mm long and light brown. They darken as the pupa develops and the moth emerges from it.