Overall, 2013 has been a light insect year in Alabama for most species. A summary of what I have observed is the following.

For cotton, thrips were moderate to heavy. However, their movement from wild hosts to cotton occurred in May instead of April. Therefore, their damage period coincided with our mid-planting period cotton instead of the earliest planted as happens most seasons.

Plant bugs, aphids and spider mites were very light overall. Bollworms and tobacco budworms were low to non-existent, even in fields of conventional cotton.

I have conventional cotton on three research stations spread across the central and southern areas of Alabama. One had to search very hard all season to find a single larva or damaged fruit.

Stink bugs were the only cotton insect that occurred at damaging levels in most fields in-season.

In soybeans, kudzu bugs were extremely heavy in many early-planted fields. This was the first year that many soybean growers have had to deal with the kudzu bug. Others will likely have their first experience in 2014.

When all is said and done, I believe we will be able to handle this insect with one, or at most two, well-timed sprays. Late-maturing beans will likely still see a big buildup of stink bugs in coming weeks as other crops mature and dry down.

The foliage feeding complex of green cloverworms, velvetbean caterpillars and soybean loopers have been very light in 2013. This follows the most widespread infestations of the past 40 years last season.

Podworms have been very light in soybeans for the past two seasons.

This has been a very unusual year rainfall wise. This may be the only season during my 41 years here as our Extension entomologist where we had too much rain.

With these comments we will end our in-season blogs unless something unusual shows up. I hope my comments have been helpful to those of you that are receiving them. Hopefully we can continue this blog, the Syngenta Insect Hotline, and our tweets during the 2014 season.


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