The young larvae hatch during warm spring weather. They are about 3 mm (0. I in.) long but grow quickly. The larvae molt five or six arial during their life cycle and mature as round, dull gray worms about 3 cm (1.2 in.) long from late June to early August depending on regional temperatures. When full-grown, the larvae enter the soil to a depth of 2 to 5 cm (0.8 to 2.0 in.) to pupate. Inside specially prepared cells, the larvae first become pre-pupae and 25 to 30 days later they develop into reddish-brown pupae. After about 10 days in this stage, the adult cutworm moths emerge. They are nocturnal and most active on warm nights. After 4 or 5 days the females begin laying their tiny, white eggs in relatively dry, light to medium types of soil. Eggs are laid during late August or September but do not hatch until the following spring. There are four color variations of red-backed cutworm adults. The wing pattern is similar but the distinguishing features vary in clarity. Also, the males are brighter than the females.