Georgia Cotton: Thrips Populations on the Rise

Thrips damaged cotton. Photo: Andrew Sawyer, University of Georgia

We got a chance to look at many cotton fields on the west side of the county today. We looked at the oldest field  planted as well as many fields that are just now emerging. And all cotton we are seeing thrips, old and young.

A lot of the damage really looks worse than it is, particularly on older cotton. The oldest cotton has 5 to 6 full leaves.

All of the cotton we looked at had seed treatments, we were just looking at different treatments. Whether we have a seed treatment or not, we need to be on top of this young cotton to check trips. Our threshold is 2 to 3 Thrips per plant OR the presence of immatures. When you’re in the field, yellow three ups on the white paper are immatures, this means are at plant insecticides may be running out of steam and thrips are now reproducing. In this situation, we need a foliar spray.

Once cotton is at 4 leaves, no foliar spray will help the plant. Are at plant insecticides are normally going to run out at four 4 as well.

Injury from thrips and your loss is essentially a combination of the pressure from thrips, as well as how well cotton  is growing. And with these cloudy, rainy days with lower temperatures, this young cotton is at risk. Normally our date for thrips is May 10. Anything before this date is at a greater risk than after this date. But we’re nearly 2 weeks after and thrips populations are high.


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