Owen Taylor, Editor
Plant bug treatments continue, and numbers are maybe picking up in more areas.
Rainfall patterns have improved in a number of areas, and parts of the upper Delta have caught good amounts since late last week. It’s hoped that the rain will help moderate mite pressure.
Bollworm/corn earworm flights have been underway on a wide basis.
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Scott Stewart, Extension Entomologist, Jackson, Tenn.: "Plant bugs are kicking up a little more. They’re at least a little less spotty this week, and treatments are ramping up. We’re hitting that window when it’s prime time for stink bugs and plant bugs. Everybody has gotten rain lately, and it fell in good amounts in some really dry spots. The rain may not take out spider mites, but it should alleviate some stress that the mites have been compounding.
"We’re encouraging everyone at this point to switch from mostly sweep nets for scouting to shake sheets. We’re on the early end of a bollworm flight and are seeing it, in particular, in the southwest corner of the state. It should pick up statewide in 7 to 10 days. We’re growing a lot of Phytogen 375 this year to have the Ignite option on pigweed. Some counties are essentially planted 100% in the variety, in fact. While Bollgard II and the WideStrike varieties like 375 sometimes have to be sprayed for bollworms, it’s a more common occurrence in the WideStrike cotton. So, be aware of this flight and scout closely. Also, green stink bugs have shown up out of nowhere, with pretty high numbers in some cotton and soybeans."
Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension Entomologist: "We’re still spraying spider mites and have been for several weeks now. Plant bug numbers seem to have picked up in spots, to the point that a lot of immature plant bugs are embedded in fields now. We are doing a better job of controlling plant bugs this year, I think, than in the past. We’ve been pushing the idea of going with a tankmix – an OP, a pyrethroid and maybe working in some Diamond – when going after plant bugs once cotton is blooming. We’ve had some success getting people to go with that plan right out of the gate. Are we controlling all of them? No. There are a lot of plant bugs out there in corn and wild hosts, so we can count on more migration into cotton. But we’re doing a better job of knocking out the ones that have made it into the crop. If we have a decent year, that will pay at harvest.
"A big egg lay in underway, and people are reporting really high egg counts, 100%-plus. All that is in the Delta. Using these tankmixes for plant bugs is like a safety net for worms."
Barry L. Freeman, Extension Entomologist (Retired), Belle Mina, Ala.: "Mites are out there, and people are mostly watching them. Some treatments have been going out over the last 10 days, partly to figure out what works. We’re not seeing the mite fungus to the point that it’s wiping out populations, but it’s at least holding them down. With drought stress, mite damage has been a lot worse than it would have been with adequate moisture. The fungus that takes out spider mites is population-dependent – meaning it requires a certain concentration of mites to trigger a sufficient outbreak — unlike aphids, which are kind of weird in the fact that you don’t need huge numbers for that fungus to develop.
"We’re picking up fair numbers of corn earworm moths but no eggs yet. So, we’re just on the front end of that. Aphids haven’t done much, and I don’t expect them to. This is about when the aphid fungus develops. Plant bugs started out with a bang but never amounted to much. That late June heat probably knocked them down. In walking through fields, I’m probably seeing fewer dirty blooms than I have in several years. We’re getting scattered rains, and crops have been desperate for them. The older cotton was hurt significantly. I can’t say that some of the younger cotton wasn’t hurt, too, but the rain seemed to mostly come in time for it."
Gary Wolfe, La-Ark Agricultural Consulting, Ida, La.: "We’ve got a big migration of adult plant bugs and also are finding a few immature plant bugs in cotton. Actually, we haven’t had much plant bug pressure all year, and they’ve just shown up in the last couple of days in heavy numbers. We got rain, and it kind of set them off. Anytime we’ve got green tops coming out of the Pix, it’s like an invitation to plant bugs. It looks like we’ve got a lot of potential pressure now. Last week we were treating everything for spider mites. In places, those were preventive applications."
Gus Lorenz, Arkansas Extension IPM Specialist: "Plant bugs are the main issue right now, and we’ve seen big increases in places since last week. We’ve gotten some really good rain across the state, including places that desperately needed it, and I think the mite pressure slowed up a little with the rain.
"But plant bugs keep coming. It’s going to take shorter treatment intervals to knock plant bugs in the head. A 7- to 10-day interval is too long. With heavy pressure, start thinking 4 to 5 days. A lot of guys are treating, then 5 days later finding numbers way above treatment level again. We’re throwing the kitchen sink at them now. A lot of growers already have used up all their allowed Bidrin and most of their yearly amount of Orthene, plus gone with Centric several times. We’re quickly running out of tools.
"We had a big bollworm moth flight last week, so we should start seeing larvae, especially south of Interstate 40. A couple of guys in south Arkansas said they were finding larvae developing in blooms, plus finding bollworms in soybeans. All our crops appear to be maturing quickly, and cotton looks more like it should in late July. It appears to have good potential."
Robert Wells, CRC Ag Consulting, LLC, Monticello, Ark.: "Plant bugs vary. Where we’ve really got them, we’ve gone across with at least 6 treatments in the heaviest places. But then in other fields, we might have made a couple of applications. The main factor is how close the cotton is to corn. They’re mostly coming out of those fields and into the nearby cotton. Numbers may be moderating a little in those areas, but we’re still getting enough plant bugs to spray every 5 to 7 days. Early on, we tried a couple of shots of Vydate and have been going with Centric. So far, I haven’t used any Orthene and have just one shot of Bidren on some. Where they’ve been really light, we’ve run Carbine and various other materials. In some of those places, we’ve been getting 14 to 15 days between applications. But, again, those are areas with light numbers, relatively speaking. In other cases, it’s been 7 to 10 days. We had a big egg lay through here last week, and when we were spraying for plant bugs, we threw in some Brigade to back up the Bt."
Scott Gifford, Gifford Crop Consulting, Manila, Ark.: "Between Sunday night and this morning (7/13), we’ve gotten 1.5 to 4 inches of rain, depending on the location, and it was much needed. We had some cotton that was probably 16 to 18 inches tall and blooming out the top. I hope the rain wasn’t too late. Time will tell.
"Prior to the rain, we were spraying spider mites pretty widely. We started with border treatments, but as it got drier we started spraying whole fields. We’re spraying plant bugs on a wide basis and have been treating with Vydate, Centric and Trimax. This week we’ll spray a lot with Bidrin. Next to corn, it seems like we’re containing them, but when we go back, more are in the cotton. Out in the open and away from corn, we’re still spraying but not as much as in those fields close to corn or milo. With the rain, quite a bit of Pix will go out with insecticides. Some will be applied by air. Where growers want to treat by ground, it will be late this week or even early next week if it’s heavier soil."
Roger Leonard, LSU Research Entomologist, Winnsboro, La.: "Plant bugs are down, but we also are spraying a fair number of corn earworms with pyrethroids or a pyrethroid tankmix. We’re also having to control brown stink bugs in some fields, and those same treatments are being used."
Trent LaMastus, Ind. Consultant, Cleveland, Miss.: "We’ve been catching showers in Humphreys County over the last couple of weeks. We still have areas that are a little dry, but most places caught beneficial or life-support type rains. Cotton ranges from 9 NAWF to 3 and 4 NAWF, depending on the planting date and irrigation. With insects, we’ve got a little bit of everything. In places, plant bugs are well under control, and we’re just putting on a maintenance dose. Aphids are picking up, and we’re treating those pretty heavily. Some mites are lingering around where we didn’t treat earlier, and we’re addressing those now.
"We’re kind of in the middle of or toward the end of a heavy bollworm moth flight and have had a hatchout in blooms, with some worms getting by the technology. With the worms, we’ve beefed up our plant bug application so we also could back up the Bt. How we approached it partly depended on our aphid situation. Cotton looks fair to pretty good. We have weak spots that didn’t receive any real rainfall from the time that cotton was planted until last week. Those plants are just now picking up nitrogen and are going through a lot of boll shed now."