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Pest Alert: SC Cotton Faces Another Round of Bollworm Pressure

August 20, 2018
this illustrated image shows a cotton bollworm

Bollworm moth numbers are increasing in SC, indicating that worm numbers will also soon increase. Growers should scout for moth activity and new white eggs, especially in late planted cotton. Entomologist Dr. Jeremy Greene provides management tips in his latest Pest Patrol update.

Cotton bollworm, also known as corn earworm, damages cotton, corn and several other crops. In cotton, larvae feed on squares, blooms and bolls, as well as growing terminals. Shallow gouges on the boll surface may become infected with rot organisms, leading to further damage.

Bollworm moths typically move from corn into cotton during July. When scouting, check the entire plant for eggs and larvae, as well as signs of damage to fruiting forms. Eggs are cream colored and flat at the base. Mature larvae can reach 1.5” long and be light green to light brown on the upper body.

For best results, check with you extension agent for local thresholds. Typically, insecticides are most effective when the crop has a significant number of squares or green bolls that will have enough time to mature before the end of the season. Once bolls begin cracking, plants have become too mature to be susceptible.

Besiege® insecticide provides fast knockdown and long-lasting residual control of a wide range of pests, including cotton bollworm. Dual modes of action provide pest control by contact, ingestion and ovicidal action for the most comprehensive bollworm control.

For more audio updates from entomologist Dr. Jeremy Greene, check out his Pest Patrol page.

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Disclaimer: If coming from the SC Pest Alert email, the line, “This means another wave of worms is likely, and older cotton is especially at risk of pressure,” was incorrect. The post copy has been changed to reflect the correct cotton growth timing.