Odd pests in Mississippi cotton

As in other Mid-South states, this has been a season of odd pests for Mississippi. “We’ve run into a lot of unusual situations,” said Angus Catchot, Mississippi Extension entomologist.

“Earlier, we had problems with slugs on cotton. We’ve had trouble with flea beetles in spots across the state. We’ve also had a few refuge fields — although not nearly as many as they’ve seen in Louisiana and southeast Texas — with cabbage loopers that had to be treated.”

Thrips pressure has been unusually heavy in pockets of the state

“We’ve been making foliar shots behind seed treatments regularly. Much of our Delta cotton is growing past vulnerability to thrips. In the hills, though, there’s plenty of cotton still in the thrips window being treated.”

Spider mites — “an unusual pest for seedling cotton” — have been popping up in the central delta. The pest hasn’t been widespread, but where they’ve been, “the problems have been bad.”

Much of Mississippi’s Delta cotton is approaching, or at, pinhead square. A few plant bug applications have been made.

Regarding the cotton crop, “I’m not the specialist, but it seems our cotton has struggled some. A lot of the cotton has been slow taking off. We’ve made some thrips applications on more mature cotton because thrips damage was so heavy. In a few fields, six-leaf cotton was so slow thrips were really hurting it.”

Catchot, on the road “non-stop” this season, normally doesn’t like to talk a lot about odd pests “because usually any problems are isolated and minor. But this year is different. We’re seeing these pests at treatable levels.

“In the last few days in the hill country I’ve seen three-cornered alfalfa hoppers. They’ve been light, but in a lot of the no-till fields, we’re beginning to take some three-cornered alfalfa hopper damage in cotton. Today, I looked at fields where 40 to 50 percent of the plants had petioles falling off from hopper damage.”

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