Texas LRGV Cotton: Chilli Thrips and Fleahoppers

    Cotton fleahopper adult. Photo: Texas AgriLife Extension

    General Situation

    Last week on May 24th we received 3-5 inches of rain valley wide with the McCook farmers unfortunately receiving significant hail damage to their row crops in the area. This week we have had high temperatures and a couple of scattered showers through the week. Heat units are building quickly, and row crops overall look good from recent rainfall.


    Lots of cotton in full blooming mode with plants anywhere from 8-5 NAWF, lots of squaring cotton as well. We had a significant crash in cotton aphids and spider mites’ populations as the rains last week were hard enough to knock them off.

    We are still picking up on some chilli thrip pressure along the river in Pharr, Donna, La feria, Bluetown, and Los Indios areas. Chilli thrips cause a bronzing of the leaves and can cause severe defoliation if left untreated. Preliminary efficacy work done on chili thrips in cotton conducted by Dr. Holly Davis last year in 2021 showed good control with current registered products.

    Main pest right now in cotton are fleahoppers. We are seeing lots of fleahopper adults and nymphs in high numbers causing some square blasting along the river and in spotted areas around the mid valley, as many growers have reported treating for fleahoppers this week.

    For more information on chilli thrips and pictures of their damage caused please click here.

    Update from Edward Herrera with Texas Boll weevil

    Year to Date planted cotton acreage: 182,213.2 ac.

    Current year to date weevil captures is at 102 for the Lower Rio Grande Valley. This is a 65% percent reduction of weevils reported for the same time last year. Recent rainfall has caused germination of cotton seed on acreage that had been submitted for failed acreage and will not be carried to harvest.

    Destruction of this cotton not being carried to harvest is important in case treatments are necessary in area and these acres will not add to program expenses. Recent rainfall has also created issues with access around perimeters of fields. Overgrowth of weeds creates difficult and hazardous conditions in that obstacles are covered. Another very important issue with program implementation is destruction of traps.

    Please be conscientious of fact that good data from trapping helps identify any infestation potential and can be addressed in a timely manner. This data could be very beneficial in helping keep treatments down if weevil activities are detected earlier. We are seeing cotton in corn, sorghum and sugarcane this can be reported as acreage out of compliance and fees can be levied through TDA regulations.


    Sorghum looking very clean with lots of sorghum in hard dough stage. As we conducted our field counts this week in our variety trial, we noticed significant crash in sugarcane aphids in the plots. Elsewhere throughout the valley as we scouted, we noticed sugarcane aphid number were little to none as sorghum continues to mature.

    We did see a little bit of midge numbers but nothing at threshold. Any blooming sorghum should be checked from this point on as we continue to monitor sorghum as there have been reports of spray treatments for midge. We have been beating sorghum in soft dough stage and still no significant headworm numbers.

    We did happen to scout some very young sorghum in early vegetative stages and picked up on some significant fall armyworm pressure in some of the whorls.

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