cotton insect

Georgia Cotton Producers Encouraged to Scout for Corn Earworms

Clint Thompson Cotton, Georgia, Georgia Cotton Commission

cotton insect
Corn earworm on an immature cotton boll.
USDA/ARS photo

By Clint Thompson

The Georgia Cotton Commission and University of Georgia (UGA) Cooperative Extension remind producers about the need to scout for corn earworms (CEW).

UGA Extension cotton entomologist Phillip Roberts stresses the importance of protecting against increased infestations.

“We don’t have any widespread problems on the farm at this time, but we’re seeing an increase in activity. We need to be scouting, so if we have a problem, we need to address it,” Roberts said.

Roberts encourages all growers to scout for the insect, but the two gene Bt cotton is at higher risk for corn earworm attack than three gene Bt cotton.

Roberts added that farmers and scouts need to pay close attention to blooms, bolls with stuck bloom tags and small bolls. When a corn earworm escapes happen in Bt cotton, they are usually observed near or just below the uppermost white bloom. The threshold for CEW in Bt cotton is when 8 larvae ¼ inch or greater are found per 100 plants.

Producers need to respond with timely supplemental foliar sprays if thresholds are exceeded.

“We just want people to know, not that there’s anything majorly bad going on, but we just noticed the change in activity. We just need to remind folks, don’t drop your guard. Make sure you’re doing the right thing,” Roberts said.

It is important that growers spray other pests based on scouting and appropriate thresholds. Conservation of beneficial insects like the bigeyed bug will reduce the risk of CEW infestations.