Virginia Cotton: Lots of Pests on the Radar, but So Far So Good

  • The bollworm moth flight seems to be peaking for this first round although August is not even a week old. The intensity was variable as very large numbers could be detected in some areas, while in other areas it has never gotten too high.
  • Stinkbugs have been the insect of interest during August for more than 10 years prior to last year’s apocalyptic moth invasion, and now we are even talking about plantbugs in August.
  • In summary, our radar is high, but so far for 2017 the strategies we have been using for management are working well.
  • I remember last year before the first week of August was over, we were discovering extremely high numbers of escape worms in Widestrike 2 varieties. In North Carolina it was even worse as Bollguard 2 was developing a high percentage of worm escapes.
  • This year, we did not wait for the worms but instead jumped on our Widestrike 2 cotton, particularly 333, with an application of premium worm materials like Besiege last week, and this week we have moved right through the rest of the cotton to clean it up with a combination of materials.
  • In all the fields I have looked at, I am seeing good results so far. However, it is still early in the month.
  • I have looked at a few fields that have not been sprayed and they do have some very small worms hatching out and reports of the stinkbug and plantbugs have slowly been increasing. Hopefully every field of cotton in Virginia has been sprayed unless it is being scouted very closely.
  • About 25% of the crop is cutting out and, depending on rainfall, may only need this one spray.
  • More of the cotton will continue blooming and setting bolls for a while particularly with favorable moisture and I would not be surprised if we do not see a second round of activity develop form worms and bugs.
  • Two big questions we will have to answer:
    1. How long will that first spray of Besiege last?
    2. Will the high rate of the Pyrethroid keep worms of BG2?

All I can say is so far, so good.  Next week will be another big week of looking.

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