South Carolina Cotton: Thrips Gain A Head Start In Mid-April Plantings

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

Any emerged cotton that probably wishes it still had its winter clothes out. It is cold at night right now, so cotton is not growing well. The thrips infestation predictor for cotton tool told us to not plant early in the southern portion of the state. But I did it anyway in my trials in an attempt to put some research cotton through the peak thrips population.

I am not sure if numbers of thrips will get as high as they got last year, but we are all set up for tons of injury in cotton planted mid-April.

Signs of injury are evident, and we are picking up thrips in early counts. Many at-plant treatments are providing protection, but some don’t look so good.

Plots treated with aldicarb look the best right now (2-leaf stage), and I will report more about thrips control this season next week. Last year, all of the seed treatments, except for acephate, looked worse that all other at-plant options.

Anything is better than nothing for thrips, but the seed treatments will likely break before the other treatments and require a foliar spray. We will talk about foliar sprays next week.

Let’s Not Forget Grasshoppers

A well-known and respected consultant and I texted recently about grasshoppers hitting cotton as it emerges. Grasshoppers lay egg pods in the soil, and they can be dormant until right about now when nymphs hatch and emerge.

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Adults are difficult to control, but the pyrethroids and chlorpyrifos are good materials for adults. A colleague reminded me that the best material for the nymphs is Dimilin (2 fl oz/acre). This IGR will help break the cycle and prevent immatures from becoming adults.

This material would be a good choice in fields you know will have issues with grasshoppers. Data support using this material, even if sprayed out on the dried residue at or just after planting.

If you are spraying emerged cotton, I would consider a heavy rate of Orthene 97 for the grasshopper adults and control of thrips that might be an issue. You will get no control of thrips with a pyrethroid or Lorsban. Dimilin in the tank will help with the nymphs.

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