By Clint Thompson
The Georgia Cotton Commission (GCC) and University of Georgia (UGA) Extension Cotton Team remind producers about the importance of scouting for insect pests. This is especially key early in the season and in an ideal environment for insect infestations, says University of Georgia Extension cotton entomologist Phillip Roberts.
“We’ve got cotton that’s beginning to set boils. We want to make sure everyone is scouting stink bugs. Based on observations in field corn, it looks like we’re going to have pretty good populations of stink bugs,” Roberts said. “Growers are accustomed to dealing with stink bugs. If we have a problem, we need to treat it. The only way to know if you have a problem is if you scout.”
Other insects have been widespread and problematic as well, especially spider mites.
“There’s no major issues but some issues that we aren’t accustomed to dealing with are happening in some areas. It’s been hot and dry, and that’s a perfect environment for spider mites. We’ve probably treated more spider mites this year than we have in many, many years. That’s something people are dealing with that they’re not accustomed to deal with,” Roberts said.
“Some other things include tarnish plant bugs. That’s a pest that we deal with each year. It seems like the last two years especially we’ve had to treat more plant bugs than I would call normal. That might be one of the reasons we have more problems with spider mites, just because we’ve disrupted beneficial insects with these plant bug sprays.”
Thursday’s release of the U.S. Drought Monitor shows dry conditions worsening throughout Georgia. Most of the state is now classified as moderately dry, though nearly all of the state is at least abnormally dry.
The moderately dry conditions stretch as far south as Mitchell, Colquitt and Cook counties.