Texas West Plains Cotton: Insects Scarce but Keep Scouting

Aphids on cotton leaf.

Cotton ranges from 8 nodes above white flower (very late cotton) to O nodes above white flower (blooming out the top). Ideally your cotton would be the latter, because we are at or very near “last effective bloom date” for most of our production area. Cotton production is a gamble, I know that. I know we often roll the dice and pray that this late cotton will have time to finish out. Anything is possible.

However, think about this. The plant is driven by heat units, yes solar accumulation and obviously some other factors, but the correlation of physiological milestones in a cotton plants life require known amounts of accumulated heat units. As we move into late summer and closer to Fall we lose day length and temperature.

But hey, if you have late cotton what choice do you have. Let it run its course, right? Well, first off on this late cotton I would be very hesitant to spend much if any money on it. Possibly water some till we get out of this heat in a week or so, but not much more than that.

Cotton aphids can be found in most cotton fields at this time. Some fields have reached threshold of 35-50 aphids per leaf and treated successfully with an aphicide. In general, fields with fewer than 3 nodes above white have averaged less than 5 aphids per leaf and are not building and even decreasing. Whereas, fields with more than 4 nodes above white flower continue to hold or build in numbers.

You must scout regularly to determine the direction of these aphids in each individual field. Beneficial insects are present in good numbers in some fields and are helping. Parasitic wasps are really building and doing their thing as well.

I hesitate to say that bollworms and stinkbugs have subsided because I do not want to give anyone an excuse to stop scouting these pests for a while longer. I will say that normally when scouting early in the mornings we kick up many millers/moths as we walk through a field. I am just not seeing that much activity currently.

Cotton Insect Guide.

Sugarcane aphids have been found now in Lamb and Hockley Counties. I have not seen them in Cochran yet. If you have grain sorghum be sure to scout fields. The infestations I’ve seen this season have been in whorl stage, pre-boot. Worm activity in milo has been light so far.

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