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They are greyish in color, sectioned and some are almost as large as my thumb!! (I am a woman). I have no idea what they are, and so don't know if they are responsible for the almost instantaneous mowing down of seedlings I plant.

Any ideas? They are pointed on each end, no visible head. I will try and get a picture of them. They are nasty looking. Thanks sooo much.

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Yay!  Thanks Bob!! It's almost dark... heh heh heh...

BUMMER. I saw thousands of red worms <good> NO cutworms. <bad>

Maybe it was too early. It was definitely totally dark. Used a flashlight. Looked under leaves... Didn't flood the beds, maybe that would help? Figure I can do that during the day. Just don't want to drown my worms, anyone know how long they can stay submerged?  Seems like flooding might be a great way to get rid of lots of things you don't want in there!  Otherwise, things are very healthy... They must have rode in on a plant that I transplanted in there. DANG.

Cutworms do spend their time under the top, so you need to flood to drive them up to where you can see them.  Flooding should not harm your red wigglers since they need the water to breath.
 
Theresa Baker said:

BUMMER. I saw thousands of red worms <good> NO cutworms. <bad>

Maybe it was too early. It was definitely totally dark. Used a flashlight. Looked under leaves... Didn't flood the beds, maybe that would help? Figure I can do that during the day. Just don't want to drown my worms, anyone know how long they can stay submerged?  Seems like flooding might be a great way to get rid of lots of things you don't want in there!  Otherwise, things are very healthy... They must have rode in on a plant that I transplanted in there. DANG.

According to UC Davis as well as UMASS ... Bt is not really that effective against cutworms...unless you get 'em at an early larval stage (first and second instar)...

One of the very, VERY big advantages of any soil-less growing method (like AP) is that you don't (or shouldn't anyways) have to deal with a myriad of soil borne pests like these cut worms (not to mention bacterial and fungal pathogens). But all that becomes null and void when folks start introducing vectors like...starting seeds in a soil mix then transplanting them into their AP systems...purchasing seedlings from garden centers, then transplanting them into their AP systems...It sorta defeats a big part of the purpose of not using a soil-less method in the first place (when crappy stuff like this happens)...

Cutworms are going to be a tough one...I wish you luck, and happy hunting. Maybe someone else knows of some easy/effective way to get rid of them? There are parasitic wasps (Apanteles spp.) and some parasitic nematodes (Steinernema carpocapsae) that will prey on cutworm larvae, but you probably need something quicker to save your plants..? I would definitely try Georges method of flooding the bed completely then picking them out.

E. fetida (red wriggler worms) can stay submerged indefinitely as long as their is an OK amount of O2 in the water...

MUCH thanks to everyone. I am going to apply beneficial nematodes (need them anyway for the gnats) and then try some serious flooding today to see what happens. These guys are voracious eaters, I planted a dozen tuscan kale seedlings, and they were gone by next morning, no TRACE of them. :-( Talk about upsetting... 

FYI too: I see they are moth larvae, so it stands to reason that this would be a very difficult pest to keep out of your beds if you can't keep moths out of the greenhouse (which I would bet, most can't). 

I will also apply BT, can't hurt, and maybe it will get the young 'uns.  Thanks again.

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