Ron Smith, Extension Entomologist, Auburn University
“We are still planting, and we are really late this year. Most of the cotton is planted and it’s at about the 2- to 4-true-leaf stage. I think the main thing is we just need water. We’ve had some scattered thunderstorms, but a lot of fields are just too dry.
“We’ve seen some pretty heavy damage from thrips, so we’re spraying for those. We’ve got a lot of fields seeing grasshoppers, but not much damage from them right now. Those grasshoppers emerged in the spring and they’re adults now, though, so we’re having to use higher rates of chemicals to control them. Some growers are incorporating control methods aimed at both thrips and grasshoppers. I’m not sure what to expect from plant bugs this year, but it’s looking like our crops won’t align with them very well and we won’t have to fight them. You just never know, so we’re keeping an eye out for anything.
“I’ve heard of beet armyworms in some corn fields, as well as some high numbers of stinkbugs.”
Jeremy Greene, Clemson University Entomologist, Blackville, South Carolina
“We haven’t gotten any rain yet unless you were one of the lucky few who caught a little shower. We’re expecting some rain at the end of this week, so here’s hoping we can all get what we need. It’s so dry and hot those without irrigation have had to stop planting for now. Some folks are dusting in the seeds, but that’s a risky choice to make when it’s so hot and they could just bake in the ground.
“We’re close to being done planting cotton, but we are slowing down to wait for some rain. Our soybean planting has been delayed, but that’s fine because our area can keep planting through June and be OK. I’m sure if we get a good rain planting will pick up pretty quickly.
“I looked at some of our trial fields today, and, in a moderate thrips season, we’re seeing some pretty good separation based on what treatment was used in planting. The levels of protection are pretty dramatic, so I’m excited to look at the data and have that report.
“I haven’t seen or heard about anything other than thrips. We had reports of the white margined burrower bugs, but the treatments took care of those pretty easily. The grasshoppers are thriving in this hot weather, so we’re definitely keeping an eye on them.”