Our recent extended period of adequate to excessive moisture levels, continued plant cotton development and lower migrating thrips levels have probably pushed thrips out of the picture for all but a very few cotton producers.

With most possible cotton insect pest problems other than thrips still on the horizon, maybe we can take a stab at what to expect in the coming weeks or months.

 Big year for plant bugs?

As mentioned last week, we sure have an abundance of moisture-enhanced plant bug host material out there as many weed and even cultivated plants qualify as hosts for this pest. It will be interesting to see if a possible rapid host material dry down in the coming weeks leaves cotton plants as a nice go-to host this growing season.

Most producers, consultants and scouts in both the Southeast and the Mid-South have confidence in the 80 percent or greater upper young square retention levels as an indication that cotton plants are safe from plant bug damage for the next 5 -7 days, and that for cases of less than 80 percent retention, sweep net sampling is needed to detect the presence of damaging levels of plant bugs.

Recognizing downward trends in square retention from one week to the next can also help in anticipating upcoming plant bug issues. An 8 or more plant bug level per 100 sweeps is often used as treatment threshold in the Southeast in cases of low square retention.