Texas LRGV Cotton: Good Control of Plant Bugs, Sharp Increase in Whitefly Pressure

    Silverleaf whiteflies infesting cotton leaf. Photo: Ron Smith, Auburn University

    General Situation

    Very hot and dry again this week with a couple of slight showers but no significant rain falls in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.


    This week checking behind cotton treated for plant bugs we were seeing some pretty good control, very clean.

    Whitefly pressure along the river has sharply increased from last week as we were seeing lots of pressure. Whiteflies feed on cotton excreting sugars that cause black sooty mold to develop and inhibits cotton plant growth and once we have open bolls sometimes the sooty mold can stain the open boll cotton if we receive rains.

    We are also picking up on low to moderate populations of chilli thrips in cotton fields along the river. Chilli thrips can cause severe bronzing and defoliation of the leaves when populations are left unmanaged and can reproduce rapidly as they thrive in this intense heat. Overall cotton is looking pretty good as we are seeing more cracked bolls as we head towards maturity.


    Seeing lots of sorghum with heavy pockets of sugarcane aphids. Check your fields for sugarcane aphids especially if you will not be getting it harvested in next few days. SCA populations are increasing rapidly as we go into next week and we are right at the peak.

    If your sorghum canopies are glistening from the SCA feeding and you are starting to see sooty mold develop and its consistent as you walk your fields, you might want to consider treating so that the SCA do not gum up your sorghum head or gum up and clog your combine as heavy populations prior to harvest can cause equipment malfunction. If you have sorghum barely going to be heading out and flowering just know that there are heavy midge populations throughout the Valley and treatment will be necessary.


    Sesame looking very good. Seeing a tiny bit more mirid plantbugs in sesame but no populations of concern yet. Lots of sesame is drying out and will be ready for harvest next month. Still no leafroller activity which is also good news for sesame growers.

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