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Pest Alert: Plant Bugs in AR Cotton Fields

July 12, 2018
This image shows a tarnished plant bug

High levels of plant bugs migrate out of corn and wild hosts, and head to AR cotton fields. Entomologist Gus Lorenz provides scouting and treatment recommendations in his July 16th Pest Patrol update.

“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.

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.

North Carolina State University suggests early season monitoring for plant bug activity, especially retention counts of small squares. Although if square retention remains high, greater than or equal to 80%, comprehensive sampling for live plant bugs probably isn’t necessary.

After cotton has bloomed, you can evaluate plant bug presence by continuing fruit examinations, evaluating dirty blooms and using a black beat cloth. Research has found that small plant bug nymphs are easier to identify on black beat cloths than standard white cloths.

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 three industry-leading technologies for quick knockdown and extended residual control, resulting in higher potential yield.

For more pest alerts from entomologist Dr. Gus Lorenz, check out his Pest Patrol page.

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