Southeast Cotton: It’s Stinkbug Month — and There’s Rain in the Forecast

    Stink bugs on young cotton boll. Photo: Texas AgriLife Extension

    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 continuing to treat stinkbugs and bollworms while strategically trying to avoid flaring up other insects.

    With a tropical storm developing, the region is dreading more moisture after an already very wet season.



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

    “We are at the highest point for bollworm pressure so far this season. It’s nearing threshold, so make it a priority to check 2-gene cotton. Both 2-gene and 3-gene cotton look really good, but you have to check in on 2-gene a little more.

    “I’ve seen a lot of southern green stinkbugs in cotton too. Other than that, aphids aren’t even worth mentioning and we just watch out for spider mites, but the rain takes care of those. The order of importance for pests in cotton is stinkbugs and then bollworms. Everything else is kind of just case-by-case.

    “I did a couple shakes in R2 blooming soybeans and found some podworms and southern green stinkbugs. I saw some other pests such as green clover worms, but we’re mostly concerned about dealing with stinkbugs. Those are the No. 1 pest for this crop, too, so we will see them setting up shop soon.”

    Sally Taylor, Virginia Tech Extension Entomologist, Tidewater REC:

    “We’ve been really wet, so people are just trying to spray and scout when they get the chance. Some fields have gotten away from us because we couldn’t keep up with spraying, but we are all just thankful for the rain. Last year we lost about a third of our yield potential to drought, so I guess you win some and you lose some.


    “The bollworm situation is so quiet it makes me feel like I’ve missed something. I think it may just be that when cotton prices are good, everyone sprays.

    “Stinkbugs are light, which has been characteristic of the past couple years. Plant bugs are always the struggle for us.

    “In soybeans, we’re keeping an eye on later planted fields. Be mindful of double-crop soybeans and do some careful scouting toward the end of August.

    “I spotted some loopers in soybeans for the first time, and that’s just a bad bug to have around. Pyrethroids can really flare them up, too, so beware of spraying unless you just absolutely need it.

    “Peanuts are quiet, but it seems they’re always quiet as far as insects go.”

    Scott Graham, Extension Entomologist, Auburn University:

    “We are still seeing plant bugs in central and south Alabama, but we are primarily fighting stinkbugs. North Alabama is seeing those too, just not quite as heavy. We’re also waiting to see what happens with the storm developing. We could use some rain, but certainly not a tropical storm, so we will see.

    “I’m hearing about some bollworms around, but nothing really crazy yet. I haven’t heard much out of escape worms. Right now, we’re just really seeing the Bt technology do its job.

    “In soybeans, it’s primarily the red banded stinkbugs in fields right now. They’re mostly in older fields, but they will probably be very heavy in the later fields as the season progresses. The fall armyworm situation is quieting down, but I’m confident it will flare up again. We’re just in between generations right now. I’m guessing it will continue until we have a frost.

    “The only other thing to mention is that over the past three weeks, looper traps have really picked up in central Alabama. We’re also seeing it pick up a bit in north Alabama as well.”

    Phillip Roberts, Extension Entomologist, Tifton, Georgia:

    “It’s August, so yeah, it’s stinkbug month. That’s the primary insect. In recent weeks, I’ve seen populations vary a lot. Some people are calling because they’re worried they’re missing something based on how low their numbers are while scouting. Then we have others who are seeing extremely high numbers. It’s important to treat fields accordingly and stay aware of other insects in the fields. If we have a problem with other bugs, we want to minimize risks of flaring those up.

    “We are starting to pick up what I think are low numbers of white flies in some areas. That’s just something to be aware of because if they are present, they should be a part of every decision we make. I haven’t heard of any numbers that are treatable, but their presence is important.

    “Our crop varies so much this year. In the areas where we have had too much rain, we have struggled with applications and inputs. Some fields need a lot of sun, and there are others that look great. We are getting close to the end; we just have to keep pushing. It’s been a frustrating year, that’s for sure.

    “This storm developing will bring us some rain, I’m sure. Based on what I saw this morning, we’re expecting it on Monday, but that could change. I don’t know how much to expect, but I don’t know of many people who need it at all. Most areas in the state already have adequate to excess moisture. Most growers are wishing for more sunshine, not rain.”

    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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