Southeast Cotton: The Calm Before the Stinkbug Storm

    Brown stink bug on cotton boll. Photo: University of Arkansas

    Karli Stringer, Contributing Editor

    Here is this week’s issue of AgFax Southeast Cotton, sponsored by the Southern Cotton Team of AMVAC.


    The Southeast is seeing relief from aphids and gaining control over plant bugs, but the regions is preparing for stinkbugs.

    Growers are encouraged to continue scouting as the season progresses.



    Scott Graham, Extension Entomologist, Auburn University:

    “There’s not a whole lot going on around here. In the past week, we’ve gotten reports of pretty heavy plant bugs in northern Alabama around the Tennessee Valley. In some areas, they’re finding as much as three times the threshold, so that’s something to be aware of. There’s been some reports of stinkbugs in south Alabama in cotton at about the second or third week of bloom. I would say this year, we can afford to be aggressive with stinkbug management because we just have such a range of growth stages among cotton fields. We are also hearing about spider mites in southeast Alabama. We are telling people to monitor along with the rain patterns. I don’t know that a rain will replace a treatment, but it can definitely buy some time. We try to treat those as few times as possible, so I’m hoping that it can hold off until they really explode.

    “Soybeans are quiet for the most part. We’re hearing about some red banded stinkbugs, which seems early, but people have already been spraying in some areas. We saw some in the Gulf Coast region, too, so people need to know they’re out and about. We haven’t heard much about defoliating caterpillars yet. Peanuts are quiet too, so that’s good.”

    Sally Taylor, Virginia Tech Extension Entomologist, Tidewater REC:

    “We will have a lot more cotton going into bloom this week, and really the only thing I have to say is about plant bugs. We are seeing higher numbers of plant bugs in some areas, but it’s pretty sporadic so the only way to know for sure is to scout your fields. I’d highly recommend checking often, and if you don’t quite know how to do that, you can most certainly get in touch with me.”

    Jennifer Bearden, Extension Agricultural Agent, Okaloosa County, Florida:

    “It’s too wet to get out in the fields. I’m actually out in a field right now pulling soil samples for peanuts, but they look more like mud samples.

    “Looking at the cotton, we were able to get fertilizer out on some of the early planted cotton. Those fields look alright, especially if the pre-emergent and early post-herbicide applications were done right. Those fields that missed the application windows look a little bit rougher. A lot of people are still just waiting for a chance to get in the field. That’s what we’re looking at right now. A lot of people are hoping to get about 5 days without rain so they can move forward.”

    Jeremy Greene, Clemson University Entomologist, Blackville, South Carolina:

    “Unless something crazy happens, we look pretty much the same as last week. There are lots of aphids, and we are waiting for the fungus to come wipe those out. We are still pushing for people to scout for plant bugs. I haven’t heard of any widespread issues with plant bugs, but it’s still important to keep checking. It’s been raining each week, so progress is moving along well. We are getting ready to start scouting after bloom. I have some traps out for bollworms and tobacco bloodworms, and the numbers are still fairly low. Right now, we are just kind of waiting for something to happen.”

    Phillip Roberts, Extension Entomologist, Tifton, Georgia:

    “The main thing is that aphid numbers are crashing right now due to the naturally occurring fungus. In areas where populations were higher, we are seeing the fungus clean out the fields. We are still seeing some lower to moderate populations in some fields, but I expect the fungus to make its rounds soon enough. Scouting is pretty easy — just look for some gray, fuzzy aphid cadavers. If you find them, the fields will clear up in about a week.

    “Another thing I’d mention is that mid-July is when we can normally expect the corn earworm, so we need to make sure growers are scouting. Pay attention to the nodes just below the uppermost white bloom. Historically, we find those corn earworms in Bt cotton just below the white bloom.

    “The only other thing I know of is plant bugs. We’ve cleaned a good bit of them up, but we are seeing some immature plant bugs in some fields. Those will need to be kept in check, so scouting is important. A drop cloth is the best tool to find those.

    “Also, more and more of the cotton is reaching a point where we need to check for stinkbugs. Other than that, I’d note we’ve had ample moisture recently and could use some sunshine to go along with it. The crop is progressing, so we can’t complain.”

    AgFax Southeast Cotton is published by AgFax Media LLC
    Ernst Undesser, Editorial Director.

    Working-Copy%5B1%5D.jpgThis weekly report is distributed during the cotton production season. It is available to United States residents engaged in cotton farming, field scouting and other qualifying ag professions.

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