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This is Jack Bacheler, Extension Entomologist at NCSU with the weekly cotton insect update. Today is Thursday on a hot July 5.
This past week, we have received no insect reports out of the ordinary. Cotton calls been limited to scattered reports of plant bugs and cotton aphids. With our present Arizona-like climate but without more than about 5% irrigation on cotton, I would certainly expect that spider mite levels across much of our state will increase during the next few weeks, but that’s not always a forgone conclusion in North Carolina - even with our current extreme weather.
Although our brief, but intense localized pop-up storms have brought relief for some and crop damage to others, much of our state remains dry, and our average daily highs of approximately 100 degrees for the past week have only the hastened moisture loss and plant stress. In some areas down east where rainfall patterns have been kinder, several consultants have stated that the only thing that stands in the way of an excellent crop of early-planted corn is a hurricane. Thankfully, both our cotton and soybean crops have a long way to go and can compensate well from our current moisture deficits – assuming we get better rainfall patterns.
With our major bollworm moth flight perhaps 2 weeks away as of July 5 in our southern counties, and with essentially of our cotton planted to Bollgard II and WideStrike varieties, caterpillar scouting can be put on the back burner for now. Present scouting attention should focus on plant bugs, green and brown stink bug damage to bolls, spider mites and cotton aphids. The 2012 Cotton Information Booklet, also available on line at our Cotton Insect Corner Web Page, provides information about recommended scouting procedures and the appropriate thresholds for the above and other cotton pests.
Although none of us is hoping for plagues of bugs and caterpillars in the coming weeks, we do expect insect pest levels to increase during the coming month. Be particularly vigilant about inspecting the lint and inner boll wall surface of quarter-sized bolls for stink bug and plant bug damage through approximately week 6 of the bloom period. And although we only recommend spraying for spider mites and/or cotton aphids when present throughout most of a cotton field at damaging levels, contrary to the views of some, these situations are not best assessed from the cab of a pickup.
My guess is that we’ll have more to report next Wednesday on July12. See you then.