Thorough Scouting is Crucial for Early Season Insects

By Jim Steadman

 

While many growers may be finalizing their cotton plans and getting planters ready for the field, it’s also a good time to start thinking about managing early season insect pests, especially thrips.

“In normal years, we usually have to overtreat 20-to-30 percent of our cotton acres on top of the seed treatments for thrips,” stated Angus Catchot, Extension entomologist with Mississippi State University. “But for the last two years, for a variety of reasons – maybe cooler weather, maybe residual herbicides holding the cotton plant growth back a bit – we’ve had to make multiple applications on up to 70 to 80 percent of the acres. That’s a trend that may be with us for a while.

“We need to be especially careful when we have to do that,” he added, “because we can flare early season spider mites if we’re not careful and choose the wrong chemistry.”

Southern growers have to deal with two different species of thrips – the more common tobacco thrips and the tougher-to-control western flower thrips. Tobacco thrips are easily controlled with organophosphate chemistries like Orthene, Bidrin or dimethoate. However, early season use of Orthene is likely to flare spider mites. A newer product, Radiant, won’t flare spider mites and is the only product showing decent activity on western flower thrips, but at a higher cost than other products.

The key is thorough, early season scouting.

“We need to know what species we’re dealing with so we know what chemistries to use,” explained Catchot. “We don’t want to treat unless we absolutely have to. We need to protect cotton so it can grow off and get a good start. But we also don’t want to go into plant bug spraying with three sprays already out for thrips.

“Generally, with a few exceptions, once cotton gets past the fourth leaf and is growing off well, we can stop worrying about thrips.”

With projected increases in grain acres and decreases in overall cotton acres, it’s also worthwhile for growers to look at where their cotton will go, if possible, especially in relation to corn.

“One of the things we strongly recommend is to try to block your cotton away from your corn if you can,” said Catchot. “We know we can’t always do that, since fields share wells – and you certainly can’t control what your neighbors do. But as we see more and more corn, we can certainly minimize some of those edge-to-edge effects.”

Of course, early season insect skirmishes just set the stage for the battles yet to come with later-season pests.

“Plant bugs are always going to be our number one issue,” reminded Catchot. “And the fewer acres in cotton may even escalate the problem to some extent. We’ll have to wait and see.

“Bollworms are very dependent on corn,” he continued. “Even though nearly 98 percent of the cotton planted is two-gene cotton, we routinely have to make overtreatments for escapes. Where we see escapes above economic thresholds, we certainly see yield benefits from overtreating. “We often tankmix pyrethroids with OPs for tarnished plant bug control during bloom, and that is sufficient for bollworm escapes. But if we continue to see pyrethroid efficacy decline on bollworms in cotton, we’ll likely have to add the diamide chemistry in some situations.”

In spite of a warm winter last year, big bollworm flights just didn’t materialize as expected. So, what about this year?

“This winter wasn’t a killing winter, but I’d say it was more of a normal winter,” he stated. “There’s no question that we’re going to deal with bollworms with all of the corn we have now. But to what extent, it’s going to be as hard to tell as it was last year.”

Leave a Reply

Insect Control Stories
Insect Control

Insect Traits Evolving for Ongoing Bug Battles

September 8, 2016

As Mother Nature creates new challenges, the industry’s insect technologies must adapt.

Insect Control

Don’t Relax Yet on Plant Bug Treatments

July 26, 2016

Although many cotton fields in the Mid-South are approaching cutout, it’s not yet time to back off on plant bug treatments.

Insect Control

Keeping a Watchful Eye on Plant Bugs

June 22, 2016

Plant bugs are back. Diligent scouting and careful management can help lessen their impact.

Insect Control

Growers Urged to Comment on Aldicarb Re-Registration

June 13, 2016

Cotton growers in the Mid-South have until June 22 to comment on re-registration of aldicarb for use in the region in 2017.

Insect Control

Start Putting Plant Bug Plans in Place

June 13, 2016

Early planted Mid-South cotton is beginning to square. Growers need to be on alert for plant bug activity.

Insect Control

EPA Approves Five Section 18s for Transform in Cotton

June 8, 2016

The EPA has granted Section 18 emergency use exemptions in five Mid-South states for use of Transform insecticide for control of plant bugs in cotton.

Insect Control

Monitor and Treat Early for Cotton Thrips

May 17, 2016

With cotton planting underway across the High Plains, cotton producers should be on the lookout for thrips and be prepared to treat, if needed.

Around The Gin
Product News

Valent Introduces Valor EZ Herbicide for 2017

December 1, 2016

Valent has introduced Valor EZ Herbicide as a residual herbicide partner for the new next generation seed systems in cotton and soybeans.

Product News

Wearable Cotton Sensors Developed

November 29, 2016

Conductive cotton fabrics have been developed into flexible wearable sensors, creating new options for cotton textiles.

Product News

Dow AgroSciences, U.S. Farmers Disagree with Proposal to Revoke Chlorpyrifos Tolerances

November 10, 2016

Dow AgroSciences is standing by the safety of proper use of chlorpyrifos, in the face of EPA’s release of a pre-publication copy of the Notice of Data Availability related to its assessment of human health risks associated with the insecticide.

Product News

Advanced Germplasm and Traits Help Growers Thrive in Cotton

November 7, 2016

PhytoGen offers options to improve fiber quality and control weeds, helping growers to out-best their best and thrive in cotton.

Product News

EPA Sets Comment Period for Enlist Duo Label Expansion

November 2, 2016

The U.S. EPA has set a public comment period until December 1 for proposed label amendments for Enlist Duo, which would allow use on Enlist cotton and extend product use on all Enlist crops to 19 other states.

Product News

Helping Cotton Growers Be Good Neighbors

November 1, 2016

Good fences make good neighbors. But these days, on-target herbicide applications also can help make growers good neighbors.

Product News

Americot Offers New XtendFlex Cotton Varieties for 2017

October 28, 2016

In 2017, Americot will offer three new Bollgard II XtendFlex varieties and one new XtendFlex only variety to cotton growers.

Product News

Bayer Delivers Right Combinations for Performance and Profit

October 27, 2016

The extensive economic data documenting earnings from FiberMax and Stoneville varieties helps make the Bayer lineup the first stop for variety decisions.

Latest News
Insect Control

Insect Traits Evolving for Ongoing Bug Battles

September 8, 2016

As Mother Nature creates new challenges, the industry’s insect technologies must adapt.

Insect Control

When to Terminate Insecticide Applications in Cotton

August 24, 2016

The decision to terminate insect controls in cotton can be challenging in some fields, but a few basic considerations will assist in that decision.

Insect Control

Finalizing Cotton Insect Control

August 2, 2016

As many cotton fields reach or approach cutout, it’s time for growers to start making final insect management decisions.

Insect Control

Don’t Relax Yet on Plant Bug Treatments

July 26, 2016

Although many cotton fields in the Mid-South are approaching cutout, it’s not yet time to back off on plant bug treatments.

Insect Control

Keeping a Watchful Eye on Plant Bugs

June 22, 2016

Plant bugs are back. Diligent scouting and careful management can help lessen their impact.

Insect Control

Growers Urged to Comment on Aldicarb Re-Registration

June 13, 2016

Cotton growers in the Mid-South have until June 22 to comment on re-registration of aldicarb for use in the region in 2017.

Insect Control

Start Putting Plant Bug Plans in Place

June 13, 2016

Early planted Mid-South cotton is beginning to square. Growers need to be on alert for plant bug activity.

Insect Control

EPA Approves Five Section 18s for Transform in Cotton

June 8, 2016

The EPA has granted Section 18 emergency use exemptions in five Mid-South states for use of Transform insecticide for control of plant bugs in cotton.

Insect Control

Monitor and Treat Early for Cotton Thrips

May 17, 2016

With cotton planting underway across the High Plains, cotton producers should be on the lookout for thrips and be prepared to treat, if needed.

Insect Control

Tennessee Sets Cotton Scout School

May 17, 2016

Tennessee’s annual Cotton Scout School is set for May 27 in Jackson.

Insect Control

States Seeking Transform Exemption for Plant Bugs

May 6, 2016

Three Mid-South states have requested emergency exemptions to use Transform for tarnished plant bug control in cotton.

Insect Control

New Webcast Addresses Thrips Management Strategies

May 3, 2016

A new webcast focusing on thrips management strategies for the Southeast has been added to the Focus on Cotton online series from the Plant Management Network and Cotton Incorporated.

Insect Control

Providing Sudden Impact in Worm Control

April 8, 2016

Twenty years ago, Bollgard technology came to U.S. cotton fields. Cotton production hasn’t been the same since.

Insect Control

AgriLife Extension Scout School Set for April 5

March 24, 2016

The Texas Panhandle Scout School, hosted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, will be held April 5 in Amarillo.

Insect Control

Thrips Continue to Drive Seed Treatment Use

March 2, 2016

With thrips present in nearly 100% of Mississippi and other Mid-South cotton fields, growers can’t afford to cut back on seed treatments to help get their crop off to a solid start.