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This is Jack Bacheler, Extension Entomologist with North Carolina State University with this week’s cotton insect update. Today is Wednesday, May 31.
With the plentiful to excessive rainfall throughout most of the state these past couple of days, although bad news for weed management, this is good news for limiting thrips levels and their damage. These high rainfall amounts can both result in significant thrips mortality and put adult flights from alternative hosts on hold. This rainfall also comes at a time when much of our early May-planted cotton is approaching the “thrips safe” 5 true leaf stage. Fortunately also, western flower thrips and their control headaches are typically less common when moisture levels are high.
When assessing the status of cotton seedlings against further thrips damage, several observations should be made. When counting the number of true leaves, remember not to include the cotyledon or seed leaves. Also, be sure to include even the battered true leaves in your counts, even if they are severely damaged and significantly reduced in size. Previously-damaged leaves, particularly down from the bud area, have little to do with a possible present infestation. If the newest leaf or leaves in the bud area are coming out area shiny and undamaged and the cotton is at four true leaves, the “thrips season” is probably over in that field. Any cotton seedlings that are beginning to show the fifth true leaf are also safe, even if thrips are present.
With kudzu bugs, we have the good fortune of hearing about the developments in South Carolina and in Georgia. Fortunately, in most areas of North Carolina, our levels are generally lower than in SC and GA. Of importance will be if the migrating adult bugs continue to build during the next few weeks and if significant levels of eggs masses develop into large numbers of damaging nymphs. Earlier this week, we had a report from a consultant that the perimeters of a handful of early-planted soybean field had been treated. We’ll try to keep North Carolina producers informed about the status kudzu bug throughout the growing season. Routine monitoring of early planted soybean fields is recommended.
For cotton, with additional thrips damage thankfully over for most cotton producers, the next possible pests on the horizon are probably plants bugs, cotton aphids and spider mites. We’ll pass along reports and our own observations about the status and outbreaks of these and other pests in the coming weeks.
See you next Wednesday, June 6. See you then.