Information from North Carolina’s licensed independent crop consultants is invaluable in determining cotton pest status and insecticide inputs from region to region and from one year to the next.

Their responses to our survey questionnaire are both an accurate account of the past “insect year” and represent approximately one third of North Carolina’s total cotton acreage.

The following observations are based on the 2013 and other recent surveys of this group.

Thrips still a pain: Although stink bugs ranked slightly ahead of thrips in damage this past year based on the 2013 survey, essentially all producers in North Carolina use treated seed and most (more than 85 percent of our consulted acreage this year) applied an additional follow-up foliar spray — making thrips control an expensive proposition compared with the control costs required for stink bugs and other cotton pests.

Imidacloprid (Admire Pro, and generics) applied as a liquid, in-furrow spray onto treated seed (if applied with precision) appears to offer producers their best present hope of a “one-and-done” at-planting option that might minimize the need for a subsequent foliar spray. We will post another blog on this option in the coming week.