2007 Has Been Nothing Short Of A Plant Bug Nightmare

Leonard is a research entomologist at the LSU Ag Center’s Macon Ridge Station in Winnsboro, LA, and he said that in early April of this year. What was possible was the equivalent of a child’s fear of the monster in the closet. What happened was that the plant-bug monster busted down the door and beat the Mid-South cotton crop over the head.

Mississippi, for the first time since 1958, had more corn acreage than cotton. Louisiana, for the first time since 1979, had more corn than cotton, too. Each state set the table for an explosion of plant bugs. The rule, rather than the exception, was that most areas were spraying at least once a week, and in some extreme instances every 3-5 days. It brought back terrible memories of cotton fields in the Mid-South being sprayed on a weekly schedule for budworms, bollworms and boll weevils. Some fields were treated 15-16 times. Boll weevil eradication programs and the introduction of Bt varieties took the weevil and some heliothines off the front burner. The tarnished plant bug filled that void.

According to Mississippi State University research, plant bugs can survive on 170 wild-plant hosts, and can reproduce on over a 100. Cotton Incorporated-sponsored studies have confirmed that the tarnished plant bug is now cotton’s primary pest.

Survival of the Fittest

“This area” — Stoneville, MS, and contiguous counties up and down the Mississippi River — “has had some serious problems with plant bugs.” says Dr. Angus Catchot, Extension Professor, Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology at Mississippi State University. “We had some cotton sprayed nine times.

“At pinhead square, we had several treatments set up,” Catchot continues. “We set low thresholds and high thresholds for automatic sprays. We had a check. We hit every threshold, every week of squaring.”

Normal thresholds in Mississippi are 8 adults per 100 sweeps. “Averaged across all treatments, at week one, we were averaging 31 plant bugs per 100 sweeps,” says Catchot. “Square retention coming out of the gate was 69%.”

Seven days after the first insecticide application, plant bug counts were up to 33 per 100 sweeps, and square retention dropped to 60%. The third application took place eight days later because of rain, and counts moved up to 48 plant bugs per 100 sweeps; square retention dropped to 40%.

“I don’t want to paint a picture of gloom and doom because we do have some good cotton; some fantastic cotton,” Catchot continues. “But plant bugs have been bad … we are just not controlling plant bugs like we used to. ”

Now What?

Obviously putting the monster back in the closet will include IPM programs. With the popularity of insecticide-treated seed, ensuing foliar applications should be avoided with classes of the same chemistry. For instance, the active ingredient thiomethoxam is the insecticide component in Cruiser and Avicta seed treatments. Centric, a product used as a foliar spray, also contains thiomethoxam. The active ingredient imidacloprid is found in Gaucho Grande and AERIS seed treatments, and in the foliar-applied Trimax-Pro. All of these products are in the neonicotinoid class.

Monsanto has a plant-bug protection trait coming, but it is at least several years down the road.

Caption:

Plant bugs migrated into cotton in enormous numbers when corn, as it was maturing, became less of an attractive host.

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

AgriLife Extension: 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

It’s a Deal: Bayer to Acquire Monsanto

September 14, 2016

Bayer and Monsanto have announced an agreement under which Bayer will acquire Monsanto for approximately $66 billion in an all-cash transaction.

Product News

How Fiber Quality Became So Valuable

September 14, 2016

Textile expert Dean Etheridge explains the meteoric rise of fiber quality on the global market.

Product News

Cotton Cultivated Website Adds Custom Weather Feature

September 1, 2016

Cotton Cultivated – Cotton Incorporated's producer information website – now features a new weather tool tailored for cotton growers.

Product News

ChemChina/Syngenta Deal Gets U.S. Foreign Investment Approval

August 22, 2016

ChemChina and Syngenta have received a key clearance for the proposed consolidation of the companies.

Product News

Enlist Cotton Trait Earns Full Export Approval

August 10, 2016

Cotton varieties containing Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist trait now have full export approval in key countries.

Product News

Spray Equipment Offer Helps Maximize On-Target Applications

August 3, 2016

A new spray technology equipment offer can help growers participating in Roundup Ready PLUS Crop Management Solutions upgrade their sprayers to maximize on-target applications.

Product News

EPA Allows Sale and Use of Existing Belt Inventory

August 2, 2016

The U.S. EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board has upheld an earlier decision to cancel registration for Bayer's insecticide Belt, but is allowing sales of existing stocks to growers for use.

Product News

Indigo Launches Water Efficiency Product for Cotton

July 26, 2016

Boston-based research firm Indigo has launched its first commercial product – Indigo Cotton – which helps improve the cotton plant’s water use efficiency.

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

AgriLife Extension: 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.