While Bidrin was shown to be effective, Smith says this product is best held in reserve for possible stink bug infestations later in the growing season, especially considering the current label restrictions, Smith says.

Over-sprays provided added protection during seven critical days in early season when the plants are vulnerable to thrips, he says.

“Two new products, Benevia and Radiant, developed by Dupont and Dow, respectively, also appear to be highly effective on thips. However, there is still some uncertainty about when they will be registered and their cost.”

The supply of Temik is basically non-existent in the market this year, Smith reminds growers.

“The product Meymik has been approved by EPA, but there will be no supplies in 2012. They’ll hopefully have supplies next year. We won’t have any for research purposes this year.”

Plant bugs are another concern for cotton producers, says Smith.

“We get a movement of plant bugs from wild hosts to cotton in the spring, and that movement is influenced by weather conditions. You typically get really sharp spikes of plant bug movement during hot, dry springs, although this doesn’t last very long,” he says, adding that the bug’s movement tends to be less intense during cool, wet springs, even though it lasts longer.

“In some fields in central Alabama, around June 20, we picked up a movement of plant bugs. After those were taken out, there wasn’t a problem with plant bugs for the remainder of the season,” he says.

The most effective insecticides for plant bugs include Acephate, either Orthene or the generic brands, says Smith.

Other options include Bidrin, although it is labeled only for the post-bloom period. Centric, while effective, also suppresses beneficial species, including fire ants.

“Pyrethroids are effective, although they can flare spider mites,” he says. “Diamond has been shown to be effective on the bugs during their post-bloom immature stage, especially when it is tank-mixed with one of the previously mentioned products.”

Single applications of Intruder, Carbine, imidaclorprid (AdmirePro), Belay and Vydate have been shown to be less effective than the others.

During July, as plant bugs linger and aphid populations build, Smith recommends using products effective against both species.

Intruder, Carbine, imadacloprid and Centric are most effective, particularly as an aphid material, while Diamond can be used with any of these, Smith says. “If moisture conditions are good, we ride the aphids out until they crash from natural diseases.”

Beneficial pests, such as fire ants, continue to play an important role in cotton production, he says.

“We know that some materials are harder on fire ants than others. Fire ants are by far the most dominant beneficial in Alabama cotton today. They’re critically important in conventional systems, but they also will reduce the number of escapes in Bollgard and Widestrike.”

Tests have shown a lot less damage in both conventional and genetic cotton when fire ants were in a system as opposed to there being no fire ants in a system.

“You can see a trend in the genetic cotton, but it’s even more obvious in conventional cotton. Last year, there were practically no bollworms in the system. In a normal year, we think the effect of fire ants would be magnified. Fireants play a big role in minimizing escaped worms in cotton.”