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Pest Alert: Plant Bugs in TN Cotton

August 2, 2019
This illustrated image shows a tarnished plant bug

With the plant bug population currently spiking, growers may not see a net reduction in plant bug populations after one foliar insecticide application. In his latest update, Pest Patrol entomologist Dr. Scott Stewart provides management recommendations, and reports that growers will most likely need to spray twice in a 5-7 day period.

“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.

University of Tennessee Extension reports that tarnished plant bugs feed on squares, which will typically shed from the plant. Excessive square loss can reduce yield and delay crop maturity. In the period after first bloom, tarnished plant bugs reach treatment levels at 15 per 1000 sweeps, and clouded plant bugs at 10 per 100 sweeps. Treatment should also be considered if more than 10% of squares show external signs of damage.

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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