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Pest Alert: Bollworm Flights Move into Cotton at Damaging Levels

August 6, 2020
This agronomic image shows a cotton bollworm

Growers should scout for developing bollworm infestations particularly during fruiting and boll development.

Experts across AL, AR, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC and TN say bollworm populations migrating from dried-down corn started rising several weeks ago. That migration means growers, retailers and consultants are closely scouting fields for bollworm eggs, larvae and escaped worms.

This year’s flight was a bit delayed in the Mid-South. Tripp Walker, Syngenta Agronomic Service Representative in MS, says he typically sees egg lays in cotton around mid-July, but this year flights didn’t move into cotton until late July.

Walker encourages growers to control these pests at the earliest stage possible. He reminds growers across the South that the threshold for 2-gene cotton is 20% eggs, while the threshold for 3-gene cotton is 4% live worms or 6% fruit damage.

  • In his recent pest patrol alert for TN, entomologist Scott Stewart, PhD., says he expects high bollworm numbers in the first few weeks of August. Earlier planted cotton may miss most of the pressure. But, for 2-gene cotton planted later, growers should be on the lookout for bollworms throughout August. Stewart doesn’t think growers will need to treat 3-gene varieties, but they should still scout diligently to stay ahead.
  • NC entomologist Dominic Reisig, PhD., says in his recent pest patrol alert that bollworms are in their major flight of the year and are laying eggs in cotton. Scouting fields is an absolute must. Reisig says he’s seeing varying levels of pressure, which is why each field needs to be scouted and treated individually. He warns growers not to cut any corners on insecticides this year to save money, because it may mean more economical damage in the long run.

Timely bollworm management is imperative to safeguard crops against this potentially devastating pest before they reach damaging levels.

Besiege® foliar insecticide controls bollworms at every life stage, from egg to adult, using vigorous active ingredients – chlorantraniliprole and lambda-cyhalothrin – and dual modes of action. Besiege provides exceptional control of worm pests on both conventional and traited cotton, protecting the crops to maintain full yield potential and bolster growers’ bottom lines.

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All photos are either the property of Syngenta or are used with permission.