by AgFax Media LLC, AgFax.com
Plant bugs are around but not in consistent numbers across the region. Treatment activity is picking up in places, but a number of our contacts over the last 2 weeks have said they were still a bit surprised at how light plant bug numbers have been to date.
Spider mites remain in the picture and applications have been warranted in places. Aphids are mostly in the background.
It's always hard to generalize about rainfall in the summer, but many areas seem to have had good amounts lately. Of course, it's July and parts of the Midsouth definitely need a good line of slow moving thunderstorms. Intense heat continues through much of our coverage area.
Travis Vallee, CenLa Ag Services, Pineville, Louisiana: "Our oldest cotton is at 6 nodes above white flower. Luckily, it caught a good 2-inch rain last week, so it shouldn't cut out too early. Overall, rain has been kind of spotty in Rapides Parish, and we've gotten zero rain in Natchitoches Parish (as of 7/4). Crops there desperately need rain now.
"We've treated once for plant bugs across the crop and have only made multiple treatments in 2 or 3 fields, all of them near corn. At the most, we've sprayed 3 times in places. No spider mites.
"We are going through a pretty good moth flight. We're finding eggs and worms, although we haven't found a worm that's survived more than 24 hours, so things are holding up. We're watching a few aphids and hoping that the fungus shows up soon. I've often seen the fungus blow up around the Fourth of July. It doesn't happen every year on that schedule but it's often enough to wait and see what develops."
David Kerns, Entomologist, Louisiana State University, Macon Ridge Research Station: "The majority of our cotton looks pretty good and has really nice square loads on a wide basis. For whatever reason, some fields threw off a noticeable amount of fruit. This seems to be linked more to a certain variety and the weather, not necessarily to insects.
"Plant bugs are definitely picking up and more applications are going out. A few bollworms are out there, although I think we're maybe on the front end of a flight. We're kicking up a lot of moths in the field and finding just a very small amount of injury.
"We can find aphids here and there, with just scattered hot spots in some fields. I'm mostly recommending that people ride them a little longer and see if they crash. If you spray for plant bugs, use something that also controls aphids.
"Spider mites are still around in spots, which isn't surprising with this hot, dry weather. I haven't noticed any fields with large infestation, but the potential is clearly there. In scattered spots it's easy to find leaves that are loaded with adult mites, immatures and eggs. If it stays hot and dry, mites will increase."