Tennessee Extension entomologist Scott Stewart says many cotton producers were still battling thrips toward the end of June, and plant bugs pressure is heavy.

“Replanted cotton is struggling. We have some cotton at three-leaf, and we have cotton just beginning to flower. The general scenario is that once we get to nine or 10 nodes, we have enough plant bugs to treat. A lot of times, a week later, we have enough plant bugs to treat again. It’s just been a continuing migration, and the rains we’ve received have not been helping. Producers are getting sprays on, and they get a rain on shortly afterwards, which is knocking off some of our residual control.”

Stewart says the plant bug infestation was not all that unusual. “When we have a cold winter and a wet spring, we build up a lot of plant bugs on wild hosts. When we had those two weeks of hot weather, it pushed all those hosts to mature quickly, which coincided with a lot of our early cotton starting to square.”

However, Stewart didn’t expect numbers to build to the highest levels he’s seen during his tenure in west Tennessee. “We’re not the Mississippi delta. It’s not uncommon for us to get to first bloom needing only one spray for plant bugs. But this year, we’re going to average between two and three applications prior to bloom.”