Scott Stewart, Tennessee Extension entomologist, says cotton farmers in the area dealt with new insecticide resistance problems this year, leading to questions about how to control aphids in 2013. Aphid numbers in west Tennessee usually are fairly low. This year, however, aphids boomed in some fields.

“We saw failure of the neonicotinoid insecticides in cotton. They provided essentially no aphid control. Using the neonicicotinoids early has resulted in resistant aphids. I think we’re going to be seeing more aphids now,” Stewart says.

“So we can go out there and apply those products and get 20 percent control or even negative control. It’s a reason to use the other products available.”

Additional new technology traits could help cotton farmers ward off insects, Stewart says. TwinLink, a dual-Bt cotton set for release in 2013 in a package with LibertyLink tolerance, shows promise, comparing favorably to Bollgard II varieties. Other traits, Bollgard III, WideStrike III, and TwinLink Advanced, with three Bt proteins, should be marketed within a few years.

“It’s conceivable that this could put us out of the worm spraying business, if the price is right,” Stewart says. “To be honest, I’m not disappointed with where we are right now with worm control. There are some good new insecticides out there. Hopefully, if the price gets right, we can adopt those worm-specific products.”