Join the Iowa Moth Trapping Network in 2021

February 15, 2021 11:00 AM
Blog Post

Iowa State University’s IPM Team has monitored field crop pests for a long time. The pests have changed over the years, but the goal is the same: to help inform farmers about pest activity in Iowa. Our moth trapping efforts target migratory moths. Black cutworm monitoring is a long-standing project in Iowa, and true armyworm has been included since 2017. Since the timing of arrival is variable between growing seasons, trapping these pests helps us predict when injury will occur.

black cutworm moth
Black cutworm moth. Photo by Adam Sisson. 

true armyworm moth
True armyworm moth. Photo from University of Missouri IPM. 

Past cooperators have helped us with our goal by establishing a trap location and reporting captures. In 2021, we want to include more Iowa cooperators to help us with black cutworm (BCW) and true armyworm (TAW) trapping. Having more traps around the state helps us refine pest movement and scouting/treatment windows. Cooperator responsibilities include:

  1. Assembling trap(s) according to instructions by April 1. We will mail supplies and instructions to you in March.
  2. Properly identifying moths caught – a guide to identifying moths will be included.
  3. Checking traps as much as possible:
    • Checking traps daily is ideal and gives us the most accurate information for developing scouting recommendations.
    • Checking traps every other day allows us to accurately assess significant BCW flights.
    • At a minimum, we would like traps checked on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each week.
  4. Reporting moth captures – see next section for reporting options.
  5. Moth trapping lasts for 2 months (approx. April 1 to June 1).


Reporting options

Last year, the Iowa Moth Trapping Network partnered with EDDMapS and Ag Pest Monitor to visualize trap capture data, a feature that has been frequently requested by our cooperators. The maps will be available to the public at We will use this platform again in 2021 so our cooperators can get the most out of the trapping network.

If you were a cooperator in 2020, read this!

If you were a cooperator in 2020 and used Ag Pest Monitor, you may login and use the sites you have already established IF you will place the traps in the same location. If you plan to use a different location, you will need to request new sites using the instructions below. Either way, make sure to send an email to to let us know you plan to participate.

Option 1) Sounds great, I’d like to try it!

If you are willing to establish a location in 2021 AND you would like to upload the data to Ag Pest Monitor yourself, please fill out this form and email by Saturday, March 6. Please fill out the form TWICE – once for each trap (TAW and BCW). You will need:

  1. An active email account.
  2. Site name – we recommend following the site name with “TAW” or “BCW” to avoid confusion when entering data.
  3. Exact site location (GPS coordinates) – this must be done for each trap type. Do not use the exact same GPS coordinates for both traps.
  4. Email and let us know you registered a site. Include your mailing address (Street, City, Zip Code) for mailing the traps and contact information (name, phone number).
  5. Check the email you used to register your sites for information on logging into Ag Pest Monitor and setting a password.

Option 2) I’m not interested, but you can upload the information for me!

If you are willing to establish a location in 2021, but you are not interested in uploading the data yourself, please email by Saturday, March 6 and include the following:

  1. Your contact information (name, phone number).
  2. Mailing address (Street, City, Zip Code).
  3. Site name.
  4. Exact site location for EACH trap (GPS coordinates – do not use the exact same coordinates for both traps).

* The site will be “owned” by one of us, and your name will not be associated with the trap; however, the location will be public.

* If you would like the trap location private, please indicate that via email.

Option 3) I don’t want my data online, but I’d like to have a trap location.

If you are willing to establish a location in 2021, but you are not interested in having your data online, please email by Saturday, March 6 and include the following:

  1. Your contact information (name, phone number, email address).
  2. Mailing address (Street, City, Zip Code).
  3. Site name (if desired).
  4. Exact site location (GPS coordinates) OR location description OR county where traps will be placed.

* We will keep your data for our use only and they will not appear online.

Considerations for trap placement:

  • Avoid heavily wooded areas, low areas, or spots next to structures.
  • Place traps as far from intense night-lights as possible.
  • Traps can be placed at the edge of a field.
  • Do NOT place the traps closer than 60 feet from each other to avoid capturing the wrong moths. 


We appreciate your interest in joining the Iowa Moth Trapping Network. We look forward to working with you! Please email if you have any questions.

Why is it important to monitor for migratory pests? Check out this video!


Ashley Dean Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Specialist II

Ashley is an education extension specialist for field crop entomology at Iowa State University. She coordinates the Iowa Moth Trapping Network, the Regional Corn Rootworm Monitoring Network, and the Iowa Pest Alert Network. She also develops educational resources for field crop pests in Iowa and ...

Erin Hodgson Professor

Dr. Erin Hodgson started working in the Department of Entomology, now the Department of Plant Pathology, Entomology, and Microbiology, at Iowa State University in 2009. She is a professor with extension and research responsibilities in corn and soybeans. She has a general background in integrated...