We are now in the home stretch, as far as insect control, in most fields of April planted cotton.
Overall, there are a few things I would be on the outlook for this week.
Stink bugs pose the greatest threat to most fields for the remainder of the season. Numbers vary greatly from field to field and in many cases from area to area within fields.
For this reason, surveys must be thorough enough to detect the overall situation in each field. A dozen or so bolls will not accurately reflect the true infestation in most instances.
Remember to select or sample 10-12 day old (quarter diameter) bolls. First separate out those with external damage from those with no external feeding signs.
Second, crush those bolls with external damage and observe for internal injury.
Our recommended “dynamic threshold” ranges from 30-50 percent internal damage early in the blooming period down to 10 percent during weeks 3-6 of bloom. This low threshold corresponds to the period when a high percentage of the total bolls are being set.
Later into the blooming season, which is where many of our fields are now, we can relax our treatment threshold back up to the 30-50 percent range.
Now onto some other pests:
The mid-to-late July bollworm flight was maybe the lowest in modern times. Bollworms have been almost non-detectable in fields in central, southwest and southeast Alabama, even in cotton with no genetic technology.
As for tobacco budworms — while at the Wiregrass Research Center (southeast Alabama) last week, numerous TBW moths were observed. This matches up with reports from southwest Georgia that indicates an extremely high budworm flight is going on in that nearby location.
This will not be anything of concern for Bt cotton, but could be a very significant event for peanut and even soybean growers.
No questions were received concerning spider mite control last week. However, I personally observed mites in numerous fields that have not historically had mite infestations. They are present in many fields and their explosion will be greatly influenced by temperature and moisture for the remainder of the season.
Growers treating for stink bugs would be wise to select an insecticide that is least likely to help flare mites.