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an owlet moth of the family Noctuidae; a dangerous pest of the seedlings of winter crops, cotton, sugar beets, sunflower, corn, and other crops. The wingspread generally is 35–45 mm; it rarely reaches 50 mm. The fore wings are brown or almost black, and the hind wings are white.
Agrotis segetum is distributed in Europe, Asia, and northern and southeastern Africa. It is encountered almost everywhere in the USSR. One generation develops in the nonchernozem region, two in the forest-steppe and steppe regions, and three in Middle Asia and in the southern steppes of the Ukraine and Ciscaucasia. The moth harms 80 plant species, from 15 families. It destroys seeds, seedlings, and young plants. It perforates the leaves, sharply decreasing the yield. There are periods of mass reproduction. At the northern limits of the insect’s range, weather conditions determine the size of the species’ population. For example, rain during the emergence of the larvae causes enormous numbers of them to die.
In the central regions of the USSR, A. segetum is controlled by diseases and by such natural enemies as Trichogrammatidae, ichneumon flies, and tachina flies. Control measures include leaving the land fallow at the northern limit of the insect’s range and destroying all weeds. Deep autumn plowing should be carried out, and the land tilled after the moths have deposited their eggs. Interrow tillage is also recommended. The seed and the areas infested by larvae should be treated with insecticides. Distribution of the egg-eating Trichogrammatidae also controls A. segetum.
T. G. GRIGOR’EVA