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Pest Alert: Cotton Faces ‘Extremely High’ Bug Year

July 15, 2021
Clean Cotton Field

Extremely high numbers of plant bugs in cotton currently threaten this year’s yield.

High populations of plant bugs are chewing through squares on young cotton plants.

Gus Lorenz, Ph.D., extension entomologist for the University of Arkansas is seeing plant bug populations at 8x threshold.

In AR, the threshold for adults is about 8/100 sweeps, but Lorenz reports farmers are seeing 16/25 sweeps. These extremely high numbers this early in the season are cause for concern.

This, Lorenz says, “may be the worst plant bug year we’ve ever had.”

Plant bugs — a group of cotton insects that includes the tarnished plant bug, western tarnished plant bug, cotton fleahopper, clouded plant bug and the verde plant bug — have piercing, sucking mouths and damage cotton crops by feeding on tender terminals and small squares.

Growers can expect to see a continued influx of plant bugs moving out of cornfields and weed hosts and into cotton. It’s imperative to remain vigilant and scout often, particularly in fields adjacent to areas with corn and wild hosts.

Lorenz says growers may need to get on a 5-day spray schedule to break the cycle before canopy closure.

We recommend growers use an insecticide to control cotton insects and protect yield.

  • Endigo® ZC insecticide combines 3 industry-leading technologies for quick knockdown and extended residual control of key foliar insect pests in cotton, helping to increase your yield potential.
  • Centric® foliar insecticide offers fast-acting control of pests in cotton with minimal impact on beneficial insects. Its alternate mode of action makes it an ideal rotational partner.
  • Besiege® insecticide provides rapid knockdown and long-lasting residual control with broad-spectrum control of lepidopteran, sucking and chewing insect pests by contact, ingestion and ovicidal action.

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