What is in this article?:
• Managing thrips is always a challenge in the northern half of North Carolina and in southeastern Virginia — an area often referred to as ‘thrips central’.
• What system growers use to manage thrips early in the growing season in 2013 is not so important.
• What is important is that they have a plan and that they manage these insects.
Otherwise, they can expect yield loss and in some cases quality loss, too.
BEAT UP is the term North Carolina State Entomologist Jack Bacheler uses to describe early planted cotton damaged by thrips.
In terms of yield and quality, the 2012 cotton crop in the Upper Southeast will likely end up among the top two or three of the past decade.
In terms of what this past year’s crop could have been, it clearly had the potential to be one of the top crops in recent memory.
Though growers didn’t know it at the time, early season damage from thrips was likely one of the culprits, along with Mother Nature that held this year’s cotton crop back.
In years, like 2012, with high thrips populations and extended cool weather after planting, growers understand just how much they miss having an old standby, Temik, to manage thrips and nematodes.
Entomologists, including Jack Bacheler and Dominic Reisig at North Carolina State have initiated a number of innovative research projects to offset the continued absence of aldicarb from the marketplace.
“What we really need is a treatment that will work well enough on thrips that growers don’t have to come back later in the season with a foliar application. For example, we often need Orthene to supplement seed treatments, and these can be disruptive and can lead to more spider mite problems,” Bacheler says.
Virginia Tech Entomologist and State IPM Leader Ames Herbert has one of the most extensive thirps management research programs in the country. He says growers want a magical, silver bullet treatment to replace Temik and Temik plus acephate, but that elusive remedy just isn’t available.
Herbert, who works at the Tidewater Agriculture Research Center in Suffolk, Virginia, says despite the absence of a magical, one-shot cure for thrips, there are plenty of options that growers can use to effectively manage these tiny insects.
Speaking at a recent North Carolina cotton field day, North Carolina State University Entomologist Bacheler confirmed some bad news that most growers knew was coming.