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Cotton Beware: Plant Bugs, Stink Bugs Preparing to Invade

June 12, 2017

As flowering weed hosts begin to die down, watch for plant bugs to move into cotton fields. Stink bugs are another pest to monitor. Both insect pests have piercing, sucking mouthparts they use to penetrate cotton bolls and feed on seeds. This damages lint quality and can even cause bolls to abort. Stink bugs can also transmit disease pathogens that lead to boll rot.

While these pests don’t pose as much of a threat to young cotton, they do require attention as cotton begins setting because of the damage they do to bolls. There are several methods to monitor presence of and damage from these pests, including sweep nets, drop cloths and visual inspection of bolls.

Treatment thresholds vary across geographies, so it’s a good idea to connect with a local entomologist or consultant. If treatment is warranted, we recommend using an insecticide like Centric®. This foliar insecticide provides a rotational resistance management tool that helps manage pests, such as plant bugs and stink bugs, to help preserve cotton quality.

To keep tabs on insects that may be invading fields, we also recommend signing up for state-specific updates via text message through our Pest Patrol program. University experts report on which pests they’re seeing in states across the South.

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