What happened to the bollworms?

Several weeks ago, traps showed large numbers of bollworm moths in Arkansas — including one in Jefferson County with more than 1,000 moths — but egg and worm numbers haven’t developed in cotton as expected, according to Scott Akin, Extension entomologist with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.

“I’ve received several calls from consultants and county Extension agents about them in both cotton and soybeans, but the numbers aren’t yet as bad as we had feared,” Akin said.

However, farmers aren’t out of the woods yet, and won’t be until after August, he said.

“What really worries me is corn planted next to cotton,” Akin said. “Moths can move in heavy numbers from corn over into cotton. This happens as corn begins to dry down. We’ll want to watch out when that corn is drying down in the next few weeks. Another thing to consider is that there is a lot more corn than cotton this year.”

Arkansas row crops are running later than normal this year, and they could be in danger from late-season pests.

“We’ve still got a long season left for cotton,” Akin noted. “But once we reach node above (first position) white flower equals 5 plus 350 heat units, farmers are pretty much out of danger for bollworm and plant bugs.”

Akin recommended that farmers, scouts and consultants focus their scouting efforts low in the canopy and check the bloom tags, which are flower blooms that dry up and tend to stick to bolls. He said these are an attractive place for bollworm moths to lay eggs.

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