Owen Taylor, Editor


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Stink bug treatments are being made on a somewhat wider basis in parts of the region. Plant bugs are still present in some areas and, if anything, have rebounded a bit in places.


Aphids are crashing in more locations now.


Bollworm moth counts have increased in parts of the region.


Dry, hot conditions prevail in a large part of the Southeast and some cotton has started losing yield potential.


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Phillip Roberts, Extension Entomologist, Tifton, Georgia: "Aphids are crashing more widely, so if you still have aphids and are considering whether to treat them, check and see if the fungus already is there, which may take care of them, anyway. Now that we’re setting bolls, our main scouting focus is shifting to stink bugs. Spider mites are scattered around, nothing treatable, but be aware that they are in the field, so avoid flaring them if you do need to treat stink bugs.”


Billy McLawhorn, McLawhorn Crop Services, Inc., Cove City, North Carolina: "A little stink bug pressure has started to develop but we’re not treating many fields yet, maybe 10% (as of 7/20). Plant bugs sort of lingered a bit. We had to deal with them on a little more acreage than normal early on, although they weren’t horribly bad.”


John D. Beasley, South Georgia Crop Services, Inc., Screven, Georgia: “We’re spraying a little for stink bugs right now (7/20), just on a spotty basis. We’re watering cotton where we can and hoping for rain where we can’t.”


Richard Davis, Davis Ag Consulting, Montgomery, Alabama: “Cotton looks great. We’ve pretty much had timely rains over the last couple of weeks and are wet in most locations, which is a good place to be right now. Our oldest cotton is in the third or fourth week of bloom. We did finally have to spray for some aphids and they’re down now. We’re looking hard for stink bugs but haven’t found much today (7/20).”


Guy Collins, Extension Cotton Specialist, North Carolina State University: “We’re smack dab in the middle of bloom for the large majority of this crop, with a little later cotton just starting to bloom and maybe even a little behind that. In our northeastern counties we’re in pretty good shape. That part of the state has gotten better rainfall. But it’s really hot, roughly 95 right now (late afternoon, 7/20), plus high humidity. This heat will hurt in areas where rainfall hasn’t been as generous.


“We’re hearing a lot of chatter about stink bugs. No major problems have developed, but that’s what everyone in the field is looking for now. People have been making decisions about plant growth regulators. The better amounts of rainfall have been in 4 or 5 counties, and that’s where people are really trying to stop the cotton. But if you drive only 30 miles south of that area, you’ll find farmers who are begging for rain and nobody with dryland cotton would even consider a growth regulator right now.”


Trey Bullock, Bullock's Ag Consulting, Hattiesburg, Mississippi: "We’re getting rain today (7/20), at least in places, and that’s good. We missed rain that fell in other areas on the Fourth of July. I’m mostly in the Hattiesburg area today and found 0.4 to 1.7 inches where I’ve checked gauges and I just pulled up to one with 2.5 inches in it.


“I honestly thought we would be spraying worms in cotton this week. Last week we were finding a bunch of eggs and moths, but I haven’t seen a reason today to treat. However, I’m still flushing hundreds of moths. I also have found a lot of little dead neonate worms in the top squares, and I hope that continues. Last week we mainly were seeing budworm moths, which I assume is why so many worms this week were dead.


“Aphids got horrible earlier and we treated several hundred acres, and I’ve hardly ever had to spray aphids at all. Now, though, the fungus is taking them out as they start to build. Plant bugs have been light. Earlier, we had to treat just isolated fields.”


Christy Hicks, Auburn University Regional Extension Agent, Opelika, Alabama: “Highs have consistently been at 98 or 99. Cotton is putting on a good boll load but with this heat it needs rain. I haven’t seen any mites flaring yet in my area but have sure been watching for them. Overall, we need rain by the end of this week to keep the cotton going.


“Last week several farmers sprayed for aphids in my counties. Aphids were certainly out there, and the leaves were quite shiny in several fields I visited. Everybody has pretty much taken care of plant bugs. Stink bugs will be the next thing and we’re monitoring for them now.”


Jeremy Greene, Clemson University Cotton Entomologist, Blackville, South Carolina: “In places, growers are spraying for stink bugs. We’re in the third to fifth week of bloom across a lot of acres when the threshold for treatment is 10% of the quarter-size bolls showing signs of feeding. Some cotton isn’t quite there yet but will be soon.


“We still have folks talking about aphids, and we have been concerned about the chance for neonic resistance. We saw some hint of that last year in one area. But I put out a test last week and didn’t see anything that implied resistance. The test went out in a different area this year, so it might be that the test last year was in a pocket that had some level of resistance.


“Our pheromone traps continue to indicate an increase in corn earworm moths, so we’re on the front end of a flight. Tobacco budworm moth counts are going up, too.”


Josh Thompson, Sales Rep, Helena Chemical Co, Florida Panhandle: “We got a little rain earlier this week, maybe 0.2 to 0.75 of an inch in places. It won’t last long, considering how hot and dry it’s been. The majority of our cotton is in the first to third week of bloom, and some of the very earliest fields have decent size bolls.


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“We’re not finding target spot. A little potash deficiency is evident and stemphylium leaf spot is present. Aphids are starting to crash and stink bugs are beginning to move into cotton, especially now with corn drying down. A few treatments have been made. A limited number of plant bug applications have been necessary.”


Ron Smith, Alabama Extension Entomologist: "It’s still too hot and thunderstorms are still too isolated. Where we’ve had any rain, it wasn’t widespread. Crops are burning up, particularly the April-planted dryland cotton that already had a pretty good boll set. It’s gone pretty far south in the last week. Where people can irrigate, cotton looks good.


“We’re now into a bollworm moth flight in our southern counties and are seeing escapes on the technology cotton. They’ve built in some fields more than others but in places it’s enough to justify treatments. Mostly, they’re below an economic level, but we’re right on the front end of this.


“Plant bugs are struggling under this heat. Aphids are pretty much crashing everywhere. I’ve had a few calls today (7/21) about spider mites, which tend to build rapidly with this dry, super-hot weather. Stink bug numbers remain relatively low, and plant bug applications earlier helped minimize them, I’m sure.”


Dominic Reisig, NCSU Extension Specialist, Entomology, Plymouth, North Carolina: “We’re right on the cusp of our bollworm flight, based on trap counts and moths in the field. This is about the time we would expect them.


“A rumor is floating around that stink bugs are really heavy this year. I’ve talked to one person who was finding big numbers, but that seems to be the exception. If anything, stink bugs seem to be average or even a little below average, based on reports and what I’m seeing in our plots. Plant bug activity has picked up again in the eastern part of the state.”


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