Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Burrower Bugs Found in Alabama

Several reports have been received in recent days concerning the white margined burrower bug in seedling cotton. These observations have come from Geneva County in the south to as far north as Shelby county (near Birmingham). So far, no damage has been connected to this insect. Grasshoppers are also present in most fields and the stand losses have come from grasshoppers. The burrower bug has sucking mouth parts and does not chew into the stem as grasshoppers do with chewing mouth parts. The burrower bug is usually not an economic pest on either cotton or soybeans. Therefore, a dedicated spray for this insect should not be necessary. Seed treatments (Cruiser, Gaucho) do a good job of controlling burrower bugs once they feed on the seedling plants. Most all insecticides used for thrips or grasshoppers should also control these bugs. Immature burrower bugs are red, or red with black markings on their bodies. A certain stage of this bug requires the weed “henbit” as a food source. They move to cultivated crops once the henbit has been burned down prior to planting. This species is not the same one that attacks peanuts later in the season.