South Carolina Cotton: Bollworms Remain Mostly Nonexistent — No Complaints There

Across The State

Jonathan Croft, Extension Ag Agent covering Orangeburg County, reported some shake samples in soybeans with “mostly VBC and immature green stink bugs. These soybeans were right on the Dorchester-Orangeburg County line. VBC and stink bugs were just under threshold.”

Chris Talley, Extension Ag Agent in Anderson County, noted that it is “too dry up here…nothing for them to feed on” when I asked about insect activity up his way.

Charles Davis, Extension Ag Agent in Calhoun County, reported that, “Cotton seems pretty quiet. Some stink bug sprays are still going out, but most cotton in Calhoun and Richland Counties is blooming out the top. Dry weather and heat have taken a big toll on the dryland crop. Squares and small bolls are falling like rain. Hopes of a top crop don’t look good.”

Cotton Insects

Well, it is still “stink bug month” in cotton, at least for another week or two, but the crop is really moving along quickly. I keep seeing stink bugs in the field, but injury ratings from boll sampling are not high everywhere.

Keep checking bolls and looking for bugs through August or until you reach to seventh week of bloom. Many fields can be released at that point, but keep using the dynamic boll-injury threshold until it’s appropriate to terminate stink bug applications.

Bollworm continues to be a no-show in my pheromone traps and in the field. I did see a few moths today and found one larva. I ate this one in front of my crew to show them my frustration for not having pressure in my plots AND to celebrate for our growers who have not had a difficult time with that species this season.

Soybean Insects

Grasshoppers, kudzu bugs, stink bugs and some caterpillars are the main species showing up in soybeans now. We are starting to observe more defoliation in some fields.

Green cloverworms and soybean loopers are responsible for most of the defoliation, with swarms of grasshoppers contributing all they can. We have observed tremendous numbers of grasshoppers this season, and they are still going. Plenty of fliers also are still out there.

One final thing to note on soybeans – numbers of tobacco budworms (TBW) caught in pheromone traps outnumbered corn earworms many times over this past week, so “podworm” in soybeans might be TBW.

If you are using a pyrethroid for podworm, you might miss them, if they are TBW. Identifying the moths flying around in soybeans is a good skill to master.

Field Day Reminder: Edisto REC

On September 5, we will host our 2019 Row-Crop Field Day at the Edisto REC near Blackville. The morning tour will cover peanuts, while all other crops (cotton, soybean, etc.) will be the focus during the afternoon sessions.

Pesticide license and CCA credits will be offered.


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