Friday, May 11, 2018

Thoughts and Tips for Bollworm Scouting on 2 Gene Cotton for 2018

          If you had an economic problem with escape bollworms on 2 gene cotton in 2017 and anticipate the problem in 2018, consider a 3 gene variety. Select one with similar maturity and yield potential as those you've been planting. This reduces acres scouts/consultants must focus on escape worms.

         When planting 2 gene cotton in 2018, monitor for bug and sucking pests and only make in-season foliar sprays when economic damage is found. This will conserve beneficial insects and reduce escape bollworms.

          If monitoring 2 gene cotton in 2018, take note of the corn planting window in your area. This plays a large role in the emergence & movement of corn earworm (bollworm) moths to cotton in July & Aug. The more corn planting is spread out, the wider the emergence window of bollworms.

          Bollworm moth activity isn't constant throughout the season. Instead it occurs in cycles especially through July. By August, generations of bollworms & tobacco budworms overlap. Fieldmen should detect the start of these peaks by focusing on eggs & newly hatched larvae in terminals/white blooms.

          Based on my observations during the Bt cotton era of the past 20 plus years, escape bollworm larvae do not feed on or damage as many fruiting sites per worm as they did in the pre Bt era.

          Scouting intervals for bollworms should be reduced to 3-4 days during critical windows on 2 gene cotton in 2018. Fieldmen may monitor select sentinel fields of similar variety and planting date to detect increased activity.

When monitoring for bollworm larvae or eggs on 2 gene cotton in 2018, be more concerned about detecting population increases early, and reacting if necessary, than quantifying exact numbers-- for example: 18 vs. 28 per whatever.

Fieldmen should consider damaged fruit on 2 gene cotton in 2018, but treatment decisions will be more timely if primary focus is on eggs and/or newly hatched larvae.

In order to stay on schedule in 2018, fieldmen should consider only staying in a field long enough to make a confident treat or not treat decision.

          Pest Patrol Updates on crop insects in Alabama available again in 2018. These alerts, sponsored by Syngenta, are beginning their 10th consecutive season. University entomologists discuss current conditions and advise on insect management.

        To sign up for the Syngenta Pest Patrol Updates for Alabama, register online at or register via text message by texting pestpat11 to 97063.