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Owen Taylor, Editor




Bollworms are building in places and are slipping through certain Bt technologies, including dual-gene varieties. At least some treatments are being made. This parallels similar reports from the lower Midsouth and parts of southeast and central Texas. In those regions, big moth flights developed and a heavy egg lay followed. Enough worms and damage resulted to prompt spraying, sometimes on a wide basis.


Whitefly populations are still increasing and expanding in Georgia. As noted last week, the insect is infesting cotton well outside of its regular territory. See comments by Georgia’s Phillip Roberts.


Plant bugs range from nonexistent to treatable populations. In parts of the region they are still mostly a localized problem, although activity is picking up in places. See comments from Ron Smith about how he sees them possibly trending in south and central Alabama.


Aphids are still around and spider mites are being treated in certain areas, as well.


Stink bugs have eased into the picture in some older cotton.


Rains have continued across parts of the Southeast since our last report but showers have maybe become spottier. Pivots are running more widely. Root development was hindered by saturated soils in the spring and early summer, so rainfall will certainly be needed to maintain potential in dryland fields.


Corn harvest in the lower Southeast has either started or will shortly.


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John D. Beasley, South Georgia Crop Services, Inc., Screven, Georgia

“In our latest planted cotton, we’re trying to lay by and get nitrogen out. In the most advanced fields we’re making our second Pix application, and our oldest cotton is probably in the third to fourth week of bloom.


“We’re starting to spray stink bugs and actually had to treat some WideStrike cotton for escaped bollworms. It seems a little early here to be dealing with bollworms. Let me emphasize that these treatments were in WideStrike cotton, not WideStrike 3 varieties. Based on what we found with moths earlier, I thought it would be next week before we had to treat, but this week is turning out to have more activity.


“I’m a little nervous watching whitefly. Phillip Roberts (Extension Entomologist) said that when they find them in July in Tifton that’s a red flag, but we’re already finding them here now. I don’t want to do anything that makes the situation worse. Last year was the first time, in fact, that I ever had to treat an appreciable number of acres for whitefly.


“Our oldest peanuts will be at 100 days this week, and we usually don’t have any that far along at this point (7/17). We’ve found a lot of leafhoppers in some of our oldest dryland peanuts. Velvetbean caterpillar moths are flying around and numbers are picking up, and we may be spraying worms late this week or early next week.


“One guy with a poor rotation program has leaf spot in every field. We’re controlling it but this weather could keep leaf spot and white mold active. One guy said he’s measured 10 inches of rain in the last 8 days. In some cases, growers delayed turning on pivots because the forecast called for high chances of rain, and those areas have now gotten rain. Pretty good amounts have fallen in the last 2 days.


“We actually would have harvested some corn this week but enough rain is in the forecast to probably put that on hold.”


Richard Davis, Davis Ag Consulting, Montgomery, Alabama

“We’re still getting plenty of rain, although it’s maybe a little spottier than it has been. In a lot of cases the root systems are shallow but it’s rained enough up to now to keep plants from stressing. But we have a good deal of dryland cotton, so I’m afraid of what could happen if the rain cuts off.


“We have a pretty good crop but will need that rain to continue along. Plants did drown out in spots. Some cotton was stunted earlier by herbicides but it’s coming back this week. Our oldest cotton is in the second to third week of bloom, with the youngest at pinhead.


“Last week I thought we would have trouble with aphids exploding. Instead, they crashed. Still not a lot of problems with plant bugs – we sprayed a few fields and have had hardly any damage. Adult brown stink bugs are around but we just now have bolls to a size that matters, so we’ll be looking closely for them over the next 2 to 3 weeks.


“Dicamba has been working well for us where we’ve used it. No issues that I know of. It seems to be doing a good job on pigweed and the combination of dicamba and Roundup are working well on running morningglory. Pretty much everything through here is a dicamba variety.”


Billy McLawhorn, McLawhorn Crop Services, Inc., Cove City, North Carolina

“Cotton looks far better than it did earlier. Most of it is between the first and third week of bloom. Planting was on the late side due to wet weather, but we’ve had heat and decent showers, so plants have made up some of the difference.


“Plant bugs have been sort of a nuisance for us. They haven’t been as intense as I’m hearing about in some areas but they have been bad in spots. A few aphids are around but nothing treatable yet. We’re picking up a little stink bug activity, although most of our cotton isn’t vulnerable quite yet. We’re touching up weeds and applying Pix, trying to be careful due to the irregular start.


“A lot of bollworm moths were in some fields today (7/17) and were really, really thick in places.


“Fungicides are going out in some soybeans and we’re including an insecticide in a small amount of acres where enough bean leaf beetles and stink bugs turned up.”


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

“Cotton is moving along. We’re getting plenty of rain in South Carolina, and scattered storms covered most of the state the other day. Along with plenty of moisture, we’ve had abundant sunshine. Cotton is growing fast and in many cases it needs plant growth regulators.


“We’ll quickly move towards potential stink bug and bollworm treatments. A lot of bollworm moths are flying around. I was scouting plots this morning (7/18) and had no trouble seeing moths and also found some damaged blooms in non-Bt cotton. So, this worm population is almost upon us, if not already here. Those particular plots were planted a little late and a lot of cotton is ahead of that, so some people are already dealing with bollworms.


“Stink bugs have been easy to find where I’ve been and any cotton in the third week of bloom should be checked. Our research clearly shows that you need to be aggressive with stink bugs in the third to fifth week of bloom. That doesn’t mean you should do automatic sprays but do check closely and watch for boll damage. If it’s over 10%, start thinking about applications.


“In soybeans, keep checking for kudzu bugs and look for that opportunity to disrupt their cycle. It only goes through 2 generations a year, and one well-timed application will put you ahead of the game.


“Plenty of moths are flying around in soybeans, primarily green cloverworm moths. I did see a few soybean looper larvae the other day. We’re rapidly approaching the point that soybeans can be a regular smorgasbord for insects, so scout closely.”


Zach Ingrum, Sanders, Inc., Athens, Alabama

“Cotton is blooming. Some folks are cleaning up adult and immature plant bugs. A few mites are popping up, too.


“We’ve received hit or miss showers. Where it’s rained in the last 3 or 4 days (from 7/18), the cotton looks good. It doesn’t look terrible where fields missed the rain, but that cotton will require showers in the next 4 to 5 days. Some cotton has been blooming for 4 weeks, although most has been blooming for 2 weeks, so we still have a long way to go.


“Corn yields won’t hit record levels but our dryland potential looks solid. We’re in the middle of fungicide applications in soybeans and in some cases we’re also cleaning up threeornered alfalfa hoppers and miscellaneous stink bugs.”


Dominic Reisig, NCSU Extension Specialist, Entomology, Plymouth, North Carolina

“I’m getting a lot of calls about bollworms, mostly from folks responding to information we posted on the web last week. We’re kind of ramping up for what’s to come. Our light and pheromone trap counts are picking up, plus we’re flushing moths and finding eggs.


“We’re just in the beginning of a flight, and this is typically the flight that causes the most problems in cotton and soybeans. It also seems to be starting 7 to 10 days earlier than normal, which is consistent with what bollworms have been doing all year – showing up early.



“Plant bugs have been pretty quiet. You can find them in areas where we historically have problems, but we aren’t detecting much expansion past that typical range. Aphids are pretty quiet and have only flared up in spots. I’ve taken several aphid-related calls but have only come across one situation where they would be treatable.


“Stink bugs are becoming apparent in cotton, but only the earliest fields have bolls at any size that could be sampled. One consultant with cotton in the second week of bloom had locations where stink bugs were very close to threshold. I imagine that they will spray those acres next week. People are asking about which materials to use that won’t make any bollworm situations worse, which is a positive sign.


“Keep checking soybeans for kudzu bugs. I was told about a field near Raleigh that maybe needed to be sprayed. If it was treated, I suspect those would be the first soybeans treated for kudzu bugs in North Carolina in several years.”


Gary Swords, Swords Consulting, Arlington, Georgia

“A few bollworms have escaped in certain varieties and we’re treating some of that. Bugs have been light. We’ve had a few plant bugs and fleahoppers but boll damage has not increased like we thought it would.


“We have a lot of young cotton that is finally starting to come around after all the rain and saturated soils limited root development. Stink bug numbers are low.


“We started seeing target spot on July 11 and it’s increased in the last week. Overall, target spot still isn’t really bad, considering this weather, but I won’t be surprised to see problems develop. A little angular leaf spot has turned up in our cotton, although other people are talking about more of it in their fields.


“Generally, conditions are moist, although we’re in a pattern now where it’s raining in the same areas over and over. We cranked up pivots yesterday (7/17) and the forecast calls for a break from rain for the rest of the week. Where it has rained, we’re not saturated but showers have been falling somewhere just about every day.


“In peanuts, I’m expecting to start spraying worms next week. We’re on the front end of various flights – budworms, bollworms and yellowstriped armyworms. Also, fall armyworms and loopers are around. Where fungicides are going out later this week, we’ll include Besiege.


“Weather permitting, we’ll start some corn harvest next week. With these wet conditions, we’re finding more disease and seeing some deterioration. I’ve found kernels sprouting on ears that are only at 70% starch line. Maturity also varies quite a bit within some fields. One ear might be at 90% for the starch line, the next at 50% and then the next one at 70%. Cloudy weather left us with a lot of tip-back in the later corn.”


Ron Smith, Alabama Extension Entomologist

“A lot of discussion has been circulating about plant bugs. A colleague in north Alabama said they’re dealing with pockets of them up there. Down here, plant bugs have dribbled along in our oldest April-planted cotton.


“They haven’t been reaching threshold to this point but immatures keep hatching and now a few field-reared adults are in the mix. So, we have all ages of immatures and now adults. Plant bug damage isn’t significant yet, but it’s only a matter of time before plant bug injury picks up.


“In the next week or so we’ll have bigger numbers of those imbedded populations. Our common materials will take care of most of them but we’ll also have more hatching. We could be forced to make multiple sprays to control these populations. Again, this is centered in our oldest cotton. You can hardly find any in the May cotton. When those first plant bugs moved out of wild hosts, they went straight for the oldest cotton because that’s where the shade was.



“Showers are developing somewhere every day, so cotton is growing quite fast, with some less robust plants that were severely stunted by waterlogged soils or nematodes. This crop has received as much water as it needed, if not more.


“With all the rain, cotton is quite healthy and providing a prime habitat for plant bugs. I posted a blog item this week that goes into more detail about that. This is turning into a different kind of season for plant bugs in central and south Alabama. We’re more accustomed to plant bugs fading away as drought and heat set in during the summer. Cotton becomes less attractive and less conducive for the insect. But this year’s crop is lush and still growing, so it’s ideal for plant bug survival.


“There will be opportunities to still use Diamond, along with an adult material, in late July and early August to gain residual activity on those immatures.


“We’re seeing some real jumps in bollworm counts in certain locations and expect some varieties to be at high risk from escaped bollworms over the next 10 days. Also, I’m picking up brown stink bugs everywhere that I’m surveying for plant bugs. It doesn’t take a lot of them to be a problem.


“We’re into the third week of bloom on April-planted cotton, so it’s carrying bolls that are susceptible to stink bug damage. We’re already detecting some of that. So, a plant bug-stink bug treatment might soon be in order in some cotton.


“Redbanded stink bugs (RBSB) are multiplying like crazy in alfalfa, so be ready for them in soybeans, especially in later planted fields. If they follow a pattern that often occurs in other states, RBSB might congregate in early fields, too. They will move to any soybean fields that have pods. We might have 4 to 5 weeks of intensive bug scouting ahead of us – maybe more so for bugs than worms.


“Also, we’re seeing more kudzu bugs in soybeans than we have in several years, and they’re quite abundant in places. So, it looks like the parasite and disease that suppressed kudzu bugs over the last couple of years aren’t working quite as well this season.”


Phillip Roberts, Extension Entomologist, Tifton, Georgia

“Some corn earworms (CEW) are being treated in Bt cotton. It’s important to scout all technologies for bollworms. This seems to be scattered across the state, not just isolated in certain areas, and CEW activity has definitely picked up. When you do spray, follow up to confirm control.


“Over the last several years we’ve had to overspray a very small percentage of our acreage. We’ve been in a different situation than other parts of the country, and hopefully things will settle down in terms of CEW. It’s a little too early to estimate how many fields will be treated in this round. We’re not to the point that people are spraying a lot, but we do have fields above threshold.


“In particular, watch the 2-gene cotton.


“Whitefly remain active and the geographic area for them this year is expanding. We’re observing them in areas where producers have no experience in managing whitefly. Let me stress that early whitefly detection is critical. Once you find them, their presence must be taken into account with every decision you make about managing other pests this year.


“We want to conserve beneficial insects to the fullest extent possible, so only spray other pests when they exceed threshold. In particular, stink bugs are often treated before thresholds are reached. If whitefly are present and you do that, it could open the way for whitefly pressure in a big way. Also, avoid materials that flare whitefly, like the OP-type insecticides.


“This is a potentially serious situation that growers and consultants must keep in mind. We issued an advisory that goes into more depth in terms of identifying whitefly and making reasoned decisions about whether to treat. When whitely hit threshold, react as soon as possible. If you get behind with this pest, it’s extremely difficult and expensive to play catchup.


“A few reports are coming in about spider mites. Keep that in mind when making treatment decisions for other insects so you can avoid flaring mites.


“Bottom line: this is a year when we need to stick to sound IPM principals.


“In soybeans, we’ve probably treated more kudzu bugs so far this year than in the last 3 years combined. It’s not a problem cleaning them up, but make sure you wait for the threshold. A few soybean loopers are developing in fields here and there. We’re picking up stink bugs in both cotton and soybeans, particularly in early maturing soybeans with pods. These are mostly southern greens with a few browns in the mix.”



Georgia Cotton: Escaped Corn Earworms Showing Up in Bt Fields   7-19


Alabama Cotton: Tarnished Plant Bugs Active, Be Ready to Treat 7-18


Florida: Peanut Field Day, Marianna, Aug. 17 7-17


Virginia Cotton: Plant Bug Distribution Map – See Where They’re Active 7-14


Cotton – Southwest – Bollworm Concerns as Crop Moves Forward   7-19


Georgia Peanuts: Researcher Aims at Improving Management of Burrower Bugs   7-19


Cotton: Trump Urged to Continue Obama’s Cotton Ginning Cost Share Program   7-18


Alabama: No Dicamba Injuries Reported Yet – 7 Best Practices to Avoid Drift   7-18


Dicamba: Monsanto Speculations about Drift Injury are Not Helpful or Valid - Commentary   7-18


More Cotton News | More Peanut News



Photo: ©Debra L. Ferguson

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