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Pest Alert: Plant Bugs in AL Cotton

June 24, 2019
This illustrated image shows a tarnished plant bug

With high insect pressure continuing from earlier this spring, a new generation of multiple plant bug species is expected. With eggs predicted to hatch in the next few weeks, Pest Patrol entomologist Dr. Ron Smith provides management recommendation in his latest update, and reports that fields currently at half the threshold level or higher may need a foliar application.

“Plant bugs” refer to a group of cotton insects that include the tarnished plant bug, western tarnished plant bug, cotton fleahopper, clouded plant bug and the verde plant bug. Plant bugs have a piercing, sucking mouth and damage cotton crops before it blooms by feeding in tender terminals and small squares. Their needle-like mouthparts cause the squares to abort.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System reports that plant bugs move into cotton from surrounding hosts in early to mid-June, and fields can see several generations in a season if left untreated. Once blooming occurs, plant bugs begin feeding on larger squares. Feeding on larger squares just before opening cause dirty blooms, or white blooms with darkened pollen anthers and occasional circular deformities on the petals.

Centric® foliar insecticide and Endigo® ZC insecticide can help cotton growers control plant bugs and the subsequent damage. Centric provides fast-acting, long-lasting control of yield-robbing pests such as plant bugs. As an effective rotational product for insect resistance management, Centric consistently controls target insects in both Bt and conventional cotton. Endigo ZC combines 3 industry-leading technologies for quick knockdown and extended residual control, resulting in higher potential yield.

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