The Georgia Cotton Commission (GCC) reminds producers that thrips damage can be harmful to young cotton plants. Management for thrips begins at planting, says Phillip Roberts, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension cotton entomologist.
“We need to be concerned with thrips from the time that plant emerges until we reach the fourth true leaf stage, and that plant is growing rapidly,” Roberts said. “We encourage all growers to use a preventative insecticide at planting. The reason we do this is because thrips are the most consistent pest we deal with in cotton each and every year. It just makes sense to use an at-plant insecticide.
“What those do, they give us protection from thrips from the time that plant emerges until we lose activity. The length of activity of control that you receive varies by which product you use. When growers are checking stands, as we walk these fields, we would recommend you actually count the number of thrips per plant.”
The threshold is 2-to-3 thrips per plant and immatures present. If immatures are present, it suggests that the insecticide at planting is no longer providing control. Growers also need to check for thrips if the true leaves are crinkled or malformed.
If thrips are not controlled, the cotton plant will be stunted and not grow as fast. There will be a delay in maturity and take longer to reach harvest. They can kill the plant in severe situations.