Scouting Key in Management of Stink Bugs in Cotton

Clint Thompson Cotton, Pest/Pest Control

By Clint Thompson

Scouting remains the best management tactic for cotton producers against stink bug pressure. It also ensures that stink bugs are present so growers can avoid applying insecticides when they are not needed, says Brock Ward, retail business representative at Syngenta.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

“In this area it’s pretty dynamic the different species that we see of insects that hit us in cotton. Trying to manage for those stink bugs and keep in mind that whiteflies and spider mites are some other pests that we just need to be mindful for; we’re just trying to encourage growers to monitor the situation, to scout it. If they’re not comfortable with it, hire someone who is that can come in and make that decision that they’ve met thresholds and need to apply a product,” Ward said.

“But they also have to be mindful that what will take down those stink bugs will also kill your beneficials. You want to make sure you’ve actually got them there.”

He added that this summer’s wet weather has helped with some insect populations. However, hot pockets still exist in South Georgia, including south of Douglas, Georgia and around the Lake Park area.

“It all comes back to needing a quality scout to go through and make sure you’ve got presence of them, find those warts on the inside of those bolls and give you an accurate representation of what’s out there,” Ward said.

Ward recommends that growers sample their cotton bolls, no bigger than a quarter. They need to be soft and mush, looking for wart-like structures or discolored lint. Between the second and fifth weeks of bloom, if there is 10% damage, growers need to spray. The tolerance level increases between the fifth and sixth weeks of bloom.