Texas LRGV Cotton: Aphids Numbers Down, Be on Watch for Fleahoppers

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    General Situation

    Same as last week: hot, windy, and dry. Dryland crops really starting to be affected, and even the irrigated crops are showing stress from lack of rain/moisture. Many growers irrigating this week and cultivating as well. Heat units are increasing quickly as we head into later part of May.

    Cotton

    Saw the first blooming cotton and some small dime size bolls this week. Cotton aphid pressure has calmed down this week as many growers have sprayed and in many fields pressure was very low as now there is an abundance of predators feeding on the cotton aphids left over. I still however, saw a handful of fields in the mid Valley that had some high cotton aphid pressure but hopefully after this week they will be under control.

    We did pick up on a few more adult fleahoppers this week in some cotton in the mid Valley areas but did not seeing any blasted squares anywhere yet or even any population of fleas close to threshold, so hopefully numbers will continue to be low. However, do be on the lookout next week and the following for increasing fleahopper pressure in squaring cotton.

    Grain

    Saw an increase in sugarcane aphids this week, so if you did not plant a resistant/tolerant variety I would recommend you go check your sorghum field for SCA pressure. Majority of sorghum fields in Valley have little bit of SCA and many predators feeding, plus I already saw parasitized SCA which was good.

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    Generally, we have yellow sugarcane aphids (YSCA) feed on the bottom two leaves of sorghum plant and then they die from the seed treatment, but I did notice in the Edcouch Elsa- Edinburg areas that there are some fields where we have YSCA migrating up the sorghum plant affecting the middle leaves and I’m seeing a yellowing of the plants leaves consistently on each plant covering entire sorghum fields.

    If you see consistent feeding and pressure of yellow sugarcane aphids like this, I would consider a spray application. Saw a few more midge along the river in flowering sorghum but nothing at threshold and the mid valley and north did not pick up on any midge. As we continue to enter the later part of May into June and will have blooming sorghum from here on out it will be very important to monitor for midge.

    When checking for midge inspect the heads for a small orange/reddish flying insect around the yellow flowering spikelets as this is where the female will lay her eggs, usually about 50 yellow-white eggs, the adults only live for one day. The eggs hatch in 2 to 3 days so you must check daily for sorghum midge as new populations emerge/hatch each morning.

    It is imperative that if you have flowering sorghum you try to get out there every 3 days between the hours of 10 am and 2pm to inspect for midge pressure. Also, this week we are starting to pick up on a couple of rice stinkbugs (very few) here and there in the flowering and soft dough sorghum so get your beat buckets (5-gallon white bucket) ready and start banging heads of soft dough sorghum these next weeks to inspect for rice stink bug & headworm pressure.

    We are not seeing any headworms just yet though but will continue to look next week and on.

    Sesame

    Looked at some blooming sesame this week around the valley and not picking up on any pests yet.




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