Tarnished plant bugs continue to be number one insect pest in cotton. And the warmer than usual winter weather in many parts of the Cotton Belt mean a potentially earlier start in plant bug movement.
Sandy Steckel, University of Tennessee Extension assistant, states in an article on UTcrops News Blog that studies have found that overwintered populations of tarnished plant bugs emerge from diapause in late winter or early spring thanks to cues like good food sources and warm temperatures. The faster the temperature rises, the sooner food sources become available and the earlier the first generation of plant bugs will appear.
“This year, tarnished plant bugs are off to an even earlier start,” says Steckel. “We found overwintering adults on February 17, and several fifth instar nymphs on March 29. This means that the first batch of offspring have passed through all their immature life stages, and the first generation is almost complete.
“Depending on future weather and the number of cotton acres planted, this may have implications for how many plant bugs we see in our 2017 cotton crop.”
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