Insect Sprays Declining

Stink Bug

Since the advent of Bt cotton and after boll weevil  eradication, Georgia growers have gone from almost seven annual insect sprays in 1995, to less than three in 2011.

“That’s about a 50% reduction in insecticide applications,” says University of Georgia Extension entomologist Phillip Roberts. “Granted there is a lot of variability in the number of applications made in different areas across the county. But the success of the boll weevil eradication program, the commercialization of Bt cotton – Bollgard being the first introduced in 1996 – is very apparent. But just because there is reduction in sprays for insect control does not necessarily make insect-pest management easier.

“The one thing that did change after the introduction of Bt cotton was our primary targets – we shifted from heliothines to true bugs such as stinkbugs and plant bugs.”
In other words, the primary pests – tobacco budworms and bollworms – became secondary pests.  The budworm was almost uncontrollable before Bollgard hit the market and some growers were spaying once a week and still had budworm problems. Plus, using harsher insecticides for budworm control took its toll on  beneficial insects. Then came Bollgard – the salvation in budworm control. And Bollworms can be controlled by a reasonably low-priced pyrethroid application.

In 1972, the average yield in Georgia was 395 pounds an acre, but the state has come a long way since then because better pest management helps bring out the best in a varitest’s yield potential.

Later on, growers were already treating for boll weevils, and the decision on insecticide sprays came down to whether or not to add additional insecticides for other pests. Sometimes an insecticide application does take out the target pest and some others, but the spray could flare other insects.

“Decisions made in terms of thrips management could influence pest management in early-mid season, and even late season,” Phillips says. “For example, foliar sprays for thrips could flare aphids. Treating for aphids could select for resistant plant bugs. Increased sprays for plant bugs could flare mites, and the tread mill continues.”

Integrated Pest Management

Roberts says the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) used today is informed pest management, not just checking cotton and spraying when economic thresholds dictates.

“There is a payoff for knowledge of the system and available control tactics.” he adds. “But a grower must have knowledge of the system, knowledge of the crop and knowledge of the pests present – whether it be an insect, a weed, or disease, or a nematode,” Roberts adds. “There must also be Knowledge of the insecticides, traits, and the effects of cultural practices, such as planting dates and tillage. And the knowledge of how all of this allows you to make better pest-management decisions.”

It’s essential that a grower understands the complexities of the IPM system and knowing what’s available in terms of management or control tactics.
Certainly, Bollgard cotton was revolutionary and game-changing technology. And it’s a fact that as growers accepted Bollgard, there was a reduction in the number of insecticide sprays applied annually.

In 2003, a trial was conducted in Georgia comparing Bollgard II and Bollgard. 

“Bollgard II is a superior technology for control of caterpillar pests. We observed excellent control of tobacco budworms and corn earworms and had to make no sprays for caterpillar pests,” Roberts says.

“But stinkbugs exploited this unsprayed environment and yields were poor in this trial.

Today stinkbugs are a primary pest in most of the Southeast,” he adds.

Loss of Temik: Where to Now?

The shortage of Temik aldicarb insecticide/nematicide will cause growers to scramble for a replacement product. 

“I anticipate that in 2012 the loss of Temik will have a significant impact on thrips management programs, especially in the Southeast where Temik has remained the standard at-planting insecticide,” Roberts says. “Many growers will be using alternative treatments, such as neonicotinoid seed treatments.
According to Roberts, many technologies – both foliar sprays and Bt traits – are utilized in multiple-cropping systems. Many pests, such as corn earworm and stink bugs, use these same crops during the year. Expansion of uses in multiple cropping systems may change population dynamics for some insects, which may be a positive.

“However, expansion of uses in cropping systems necessitates more careful consideration in planning for resistance management,” Roberts explains. “IPM is a proven program. IPM can reduce the need for insecticides, thus reducing selection pressure for resistant pests. Applications of insecticides are a vital component of IPM programs.  When managing a complex of insects, the potential of flaring non-target pests, suppression of economic insects present, and resistance management must all be considered when selecting control technologies.

“We have a good arsenal of insect-control tools. We do have needs, especially for control of true bugs he continues. “We’re looking forward to the registration of new active ingredients, such as sulfoxaflor (Transform), which has activity on our sucking-bug complex. But we must do all we can to preserve current tools. Resistance management must be a priority.”

Leave a Reply

Insect Control Stories
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

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.

Young Cotton Plant
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.

Insect Control

Options for Tarnished Plant Bug IPM Programs

February 5, 2016

With the availability of Transform in question for 2016, Mississippi State Extension specialists and researchers have developed two IPM programs for management of tarnished plant bugs.

Insect Control

2016 Mississippi Insect Control Guide Now Available

December 17, 2015

The Mississippi 2016 Insect Control Guide for Agronomic Crops is now available online, with hard copies available in January.

Around The Gin
Product News

Record Yields Set by 2015 FiberMax One Ton Club

May 4, 2016

The 127 members who qualified for the FiberMax One Ton Club pushed cotton yields and quality to higher levels in 2015.

Product News

Meister Media Worldwide Website Relaunches With New Resources

April 22, 2016

Meister Media Worldwide — publisher of Cotton Grower magazine – has relaunched its corporate website, highlighting information and services available from one of agriculture’s leading media companies.

Product News

ReinCloud Promises Remote Control

April 18, 2016

New software set to combine irrigation management and data collection – all in the palm of your hand.

Product News

Search Begins for Deltapine Class of 17

April 14, 2016

Deltapine’s NPE program is nine years old, and the search for the company’s Class of 17 cotton varieties is underway.

Product News

Texas Farmer First to Plant Enlist Cotton Variety

April 11, 2016

Dean Hansen of El Campo, TX, was the first cotton grower in North America to plant the first commercially-available cottonseed with the Enlist cotton trait.

Product News

New Options for Roundup Ready PLUS Program

March 25, 2016

The Roundup Ready PLUS Crop Management Solutions program for 2016 includes a new tool for weed management and new incentives for farmers looking to fight insect pests in corn.

Product News

Greenleaf Launches easyFlow Closed Transfer System

March 24, 2016

Greenleaf Technologies has launched the company’s new easyFlow closed transfer system for the North American market.

Product News

AgLogic Launches Aldicarb Product in Georgia

March 15, 2016

Growers in Georgia will be able to use a new aldicarb pesticide in 2016 for nematode and early season pest control.

Latest News
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.

Insect Control

Options for Tarnished Plant Bug IPM Programs

February 5, 2016

With the availability of Transform in question for 2016, Mississippi State Extension specialists and researchers have developed two IPM programs for management of tarnished plant bugs.

Insect Control

2016 Mississippi Insect Control Guide Now Available

December 17, 2015

The Mississippi 2016 Insect Control Guide for Agronomic Crops is now available online, with hard copies available in January.

Insect Control

EPA Issues Cancellation Order for Transform

November 16, 2015

EPA has issued a cancellation order for products containing sulfoxaflor – including Transform – in response to a September ruling by the Nine Circuit Court of Appeals that vacated the product registrations.

Insect Control

USDA Exploring New Options for Pink Bollworm Control

October 6, 2015

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is using remotely piloted aircraft to help eliminate small-scale outbreaks of pink bollworm.

Insect Control

Boll Weevil Eradication Making Progress in Texas

September 28, 2015

The Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation is making solid progress in eliminating the the cotton boll weevil from the state's cotton fields. But there's still work remaining.

Insect Control

Citing Bee Deaths, U.S. Appeals Court Vacates Transform Registration

September 11, 2015

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has vacated EPA approval of the pesticide sulfoxaflor, stating that the agency erred by granting the registration without additional studies regarding potential impact on honeybees.

Insect Control

Wake-Up Call for Old World Bollworm

August 20, 2015

The Old World bollworm – an aggressive global pest – has apparently found its way to the U.S.

Insect Control

New Webcast Focuses on Lygus Management in Texas High Plains

August 17, 2015

A new webcast focusing on lygus management in the Texas High Plains cotton has been added to the Focus on Cotton online series from the Plant Management Network and Cotton Incorporated.