facebook_pixel

Predictably Predictable

In 2007, information from the Cotton Foundation and Mississippi State University showed that thrips cost growers 145,040 bales. That put thrips squarely in third place as the most damaging cotton insect pest behind the bollworm/budworm complex (229,186 bales) and tarnished plant bugs (171,478 bales).

But what must be considered is that thrips have a much smaller window of damage potential than either of the others, making it potentially the most damaging early season insect. Thrips can damage cotton from emergence to around the 5-leaf stage, and they feed on leaf surfaces, leaf buds and small squares.

“Thrips are an annual pest and we are basically going to have them on every acre,” says Dr. Phillip Roberts, Associate Professor of Entomology at the University of Georgia. “Thrips are just so predictable and consistent.”
But because of that, there is very little left unanswered on how to control thrips.

“We haven’t had the severe losses you might imagine from thrips for a couple of reasons,” says Dr. Roger Leonard, a Louisiana State University AgCenter entomologist. “Practically 100% of our acreage receives a seed treatment or Temik at planting. That’s a preventive strategy. In addition, many of our acres are sprayed with a single foliar application that is triggered on the presence of thrips on immature seedlings with fewer than five leaves.”

Roberts says approximately 90% of Georgia’s cotton acreage receives an at-planting treatment for thrips: “We encourage growers to use a preventative treatment at planting like Avicta Complete Pak, Cruiser, Gaucho Grande and Temik. Any of these.

“It’s very important to protect seedlings as they develop,” Roberts continues, “but it’s rare that we would have to treat for thrips after the 5-leaf stage.”

No Automatic Sprays

There are many foliar insecticides with excellent activity on thrips, but growers are cautioned not to automatically apply a thrips material with the first application of glyphosate: (1) They are ineffective and wasteful if thrips are not at economic thresholds, (2) they can flare other pests, and (3) they can be hard on beneficials.

“We discourage people from making an automatic foliar spray because it will disrupt beneficials,” says Roberts. “But the point is, if we have an issue with thrips, we need to address it. Unfortunately we do not have a foliar product that will control thrips without killing beneficial insects.”

Another point to consider is that cotton is often described as being a great compensator. “We do see injury, but fortunately have enough season left in Louisiana to compensate for most of the minor damage,” says Leonard. “When our soils warm up and cotton jumps out of the ground and starts growing, thrips do not affect our crop as much as they would in Arkansas and Tennessee.”

Wheat, Wheat and More Wheat

This season could bring a new challenge in thrips control, particularly in Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas where wheat acreage has nearly tripled since 2006. Wheat is an excellent host for thrips, and cotton adjacent to maturing wheat could see higher than normal thrips pressure, especially after on-seed treatments and Temik have played out.

“It’s hard to predict what an insect is going to do, but generally we are going to have high thrips numbers with the amount of wheat acreage we have in the state,” says Mississippi Extension entomologist Dr. Angus Catchot. “There’s not a lot of things we can do preemptively at that point, but you need to be aware of it.”

Depending on the weather conditions and crop progress, tarnished plant bugs and spider mites can also present early season problems.

Plant bugs, which were devastating late-season in parts of the Mid-South in 20007, can be nearly as problematic early season. At high population levels, terminal feeding may result in “crazy cotton,” where the main stem no longer dominates branch growth.

Spider mites are more closely associated with extreme heat and inadequate moisture later in the season, but have been showing up earlier for the past several years. They feed on epidermal cells on the underside of cotton leaves, resulting in moisture loss and drying of the damaged leaves. The damage can also disrupt photosynthesis.

Chart headlines:

Regional Thrips Losses
(in bales)
Beltwide Insect Losses
(in bales)
Source: Cotton Foundation/Mississippi State University

Captions/photos:

Photo 1:
Source: University of California

Photo 2:
Thrips damage.
Source: North Carolina State University

Photo 3:
Source: Penn State University

Photo 4:
“Crazy cotton” is the result of plant bugs damaging the main terminal.
Source: University of Tennessee

Leave a Reply

Insect Control Stories
Insect Control

Results of 2016 Insecticide Efficacy Survey Now Online

April 26, 2017

Results of the 2016 Insecticide Efficacy Survey for cotton, corn and soybeans are now available online.

Insect Control

Tennessee Receives Section 18 for Transform in Cotton

April 21, 2017

The EPA has again approved the Section 18 Emergency Exemption for use of Transform WG in Tennessee to control tarnished plant bugs in cotton.

Insect Control

Transform Receives Exemption for Plant Bug Control in Arkansas Cotton

March 30, 2017

Arkansas has been granted a Section 18 exemption for 2017 for use of Transform WG insecticide for management of tarnished plant bugs in cotton.

Insect Control

Can Cover Crops Hamper Pest Management?

March 1, 2017

Growers will likely need to adjust their pest management practices to avoid crop losses when cover crops are used.

Insect Control

Keep Spider Mites in Mind When Planning Burndown

February 9, 2017

Spider mite management should be a consideration in every grower’s preplant burndown plans.

Insect Control

Insect Control Guide App Available from MS State

February 3, 2017

An app of the Mississippi State University 2017 Insect Control Guide is now available through the iTunes App Store, with an Android version coming soon.

Insect Control

Cotton Seed Treatment Choices Will Be More Important In 2017

January 26, 2017

Early season thrips control will be more important than ever in 2017 due to the introduction and anticipated use of dicamba-tolerant cotton varieties, according to Mississippi State University cotton specialists.

Around The Gin
Product News

Transform Earns Section 18 Exemptions for Cotton, Sorghum

May 4, 2017

Transform WG insecticide has received Section 18 emergency use exemptions for use in cotton and sorghum in select states for the 2017 production season.

Product News

EPA Approves Monsanto’s NemaStrike Technology

May 2, 2017

The EPA has issued registration for tioxazafen, a new nematicide from Monsanto that will be branded as NemaStrike Technology for nematode control and yield protection in cotton, corn and soybeans.

Product News

Indigo Partners Launched for In-Field Technology Testing

April 25, 2017

Indigo is launching Indigo Partners, a collaboration of 25 U.S. growers and agronomic experts to test agricultural technologies – including Indigo’s microbial seed treatments – during 2017.

Product News

UPI Adds New Herbicide Products

April 14, 2017

UPI has added two new herbicides to its portfolio of high quality crop protection products for the U.S.

Product News

FiberMax One Ton Club Membership Tops 1,000

April 14, 2017

A record number of growers qualified for the FiberMax One Ton Club in 2016 with four-bale and higher yields with FiberMax varieties.

Product News

Deltapine NPE Program Kicks off Tenth Year

April 10, 2017

Nearly 200 growers will participate in the tenth season of the Deltapine New Product Evaluator (NPE) Program.

Product News

BASF Expands Dicamba Manufacturing Facility

March 22, 2017

BASF has completed a $270 million expansion of its Beaumont, TX, facility – the largest agricultural products facility investment in company history.

Product News

Topguard Terra Label Amendments for Cotton Root Rot in Texas

March 7, 2017

Texas growers now have additional preplant and post planting options for using Topguard Terra to control cotton root rot.

Latest News
Insect Control

Results of 2016 Insecticide Efficacy Survey Now Online

April 26, 2017

Results of the 2016 Insecticide Efficacy Survey for cotton, corn and soybeans are now available online.

Insect Control

Tennessee Receives Section 18 for Transform in Cotton

April 21, 2017

The EPA has again approved the Section 18 Emergency Exemption for use of Transform WG in Tennessee to control tarnished plant bugs in cotton.

Insect Control

New Online Tool Aids in Thrips Management Decisions

April 11, 2017

A new online tool is now available to help cotton growers better predict thrips infestations and determine options for treatment.

Insect Control

Plant Bugs Off to Warm Weather Start?

April 4, 2017

Warmer than usual winter weather could mean an earlier start for plant bugs in 2017.

Insect Control

Transform Receives Exemption for Plant Bug Control in Arkansas Cotton

March 30, 2017

Arkansas has been granted a Section 18 exemption for 2017 for use of Transform WG insecticide for management of tarnished plant bugs in cotton.

Insect Control

Can Cover Crops Hamper Pest Management?

March 1, 2017

Growers will likely need to adjust their pest management practices to avoid crop losses when cover crops are used.

Insect Control

Keep Spider Mites in Mind When Planning Burndown

February 9, 2017

Spider mite management should be a consideration in every grower’s preplant burndown plans.

Insect Control

Insect Control Guide App Available from MS State

February 3, 2017

An app of the Mississippi State University 2017 Insect Control Guide is now available through the iTunes App Store, with an Android version coming soon.

Insect Control

Cotton Seed Treatment Choices Will Be More Important In 2017

January 26, 2017

Early season thrips control will be more important than ever in 2017 due to the introduction and anticipated use of dicamba-tolerant cotton varieties, according to Mississippi State University cotton specialists.

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.