The dominant question last week was concerning spider mite control.

Several calls were received from consultants or agri-fieldmen in the southern part of the state. Their question was not so much what to spray with (chemical choice) but instead when to spray.

Most were scheduling stink bug sprays within a few days and wanted to know whether to add a miticide or not.

Without seeing the fields, that is a difficult decision to make over the phone. My thoughts were that it could depend somewhat on how widespread the mites were in the field, the level of mite infestation and maybe most importantly —the weather outlook for the next 7-10 days.

Mite populations seem to hold steady in good rainfall patterns, but explode during hot-dry weather. Even though we have had scattered thunderstorms for the past several weeks, there are many places where no rainfall has occurred. Last week was hot, mid-90s or higher all week, so mites likely increased in number.

My suggestion would be to go ahead and treat mites if the weather outlook is for hot dry weather for the next 5-7 days. Most of our mite controls this season have been with abamectin (Agri Mek) at 8 ounces per acre and results have been good.

Stink bug populations are still hanging around, in low numbers in many fields. However, from personal experience in a plant bug trial area in central Alabama that is located adjacent to corn, stink bug numbers have exploded in the past two weeks.

Both brown and southern green species are well above the threshold level on the corn-cotton borders.

Where cotton yields are promising and quarter diameter 10 day old bolls are still developing, stink bugs should be watched closely and controlled when above threshold.

Cotton is at various stages now so our “dynamic threshold” would depend on where we are in the blooming-boll development cycle. Remember that 10 percent is our suggested threshold from weeks three through about six of bloom.

One other call was received last week concerning one or more fields in Baldwin County (Gulf Coast) infested with damaging levels of the garden fleahopper. We had several fields in recent seasons with this pest in the Mobile county area. The GFH seems to be primarily a foliage feeder but can damage every leaf in a field.

As of this date the bollworm/budworm complex is almost non-detectable, even in cotton with no caterpillar technology.