Toews is currently researching ways to better locate and treat stink bugs.

One finding was that cotton fields located adjacent to either peanuts or soybeans tend to have more stink bugs. Toews encourages growers not to have contiguous borders of cotton with either soybeans or peanuts.

“What we’ve found is when you have a cotton field that shares a border with either soybeans or peanuts, we pick up stink bug movement from that adjacent crop into cotton once the cotton starts flowering,” Toews said.

“Stink bugs typically stop on the edges when they’re initially colonizing the field. We’ve used strategies like border sprays, where we just drive around the field with a truck mounted mist blower, to spray those bugs. A grower can get by with much less insecticide but be just as effective.”

So where cotton fields do back up to soybean or peanut fields, farmers should target stink bugs by spraying only the first 40 feet on the cotton fields’ edges. This is where most of the population relocates upon moving.

In such a scenario, growers can mitigate stink bug movement and avoid spraying the entire field. This method reduces insecticide use and development of insecticide resistance, while also reducing the risk of secondary pest outbreaks, Toews added.

Toews focuses on showing growers where they can expect to find stink bugs and providing recommendations on how to control them.

“My goal is to provide our growers with tools that allow them to most effectively target these insects in time and space,” he said. “Let’s use our insecticides wisely. They work well, but let’s use them judiciously so we get the maximum amount of benefit for every pound of insecticide, without creating new problems.”

 

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