“Whether I like it or not, what this probably means is that for early-planted cotton in most of North Carolina and Virginia, we are going to have to use a foliar insecticide to supplement seed treatments,” Bacheler says.

“The good news is that these foliar materials, primarily acephate (Orthene) have performed well in our tests and in tests with Ames Herbert in Southeast Virginia,” he adds.

For growers, paying the $20-$25 dollar per acre cost of an additional foliar insecticide will likely become a trade-off on yield and quality of their cotton crop.

It will be a chore for cotton growers, but Bacheler says using a hooded sprayer is one way to improve efficacy and reduce costs of using a foliar-applied insecticide to augment seed treatment control for thrips.

The over-riding bad news for cotton growers in 2013 is likely going to be low prices.

For cotton growers in the Upper Southeast, the secondary bad news is no Temik.

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.

“Our region has earned the distinction of having the highest levels of thrips and greatest potential damage to seedling cotton of anywhere in the U.S.

“In some tests, with the help of a microscope, we sometimes count as many as 200 to 500 immature thrips per 5 seedlings! That’s a ‘ton’ of thrips, especially if seedlings are unprotected. So it’s probably not a surprise that Virginia and North Carolina have the highest ratio of surrounding host vegetation to small average cotton field size,” Bacheler says.

“It’s also not a surprise that growers in these highly susceptible areas better have a good system to manage thrips,” he adds.

rroberson@farmpress.com