Lookout boll weevil and tobacco budworm. Some new cotton pests are taking your place.

According to Cotton Insect Losses — 2001, compiled by Mike Williams, Extension entomologist, Mississippi State University, cotton's long-time antagonist, the boll weevil, reduced cotton yields an unweevil-like 0.097 percent in 2001, which made it the seventh most damaging pest in the country.

The most damaging pest in 2001 was the cotton bollworm/tobacco budworm complex, taking 1.228 percent of the crop. About 64 percent of the U.S. cotton crop was infested with bollworm/budworm, however, 72 percent of the complex were bollworms.

Lygus (plant bug), thrips, stinkbugs and aphids rounded out the top five. All pests combined to reduce cotton yield 4.53 percent in 2001, compared to 9.26 percent in 2000.

The loss and cost of management combined across all states was $78 per acre in 2001, compared to $117.32 in 2000. Costs include boll weevil eradication fees as well as Bt cotton technology fees.

In Arkansas, the bollworm/budworm complex reduced yield more than any other pest, at 1.225 percent, followed by stinkbug, lygus, thrips and the boll weevil.

In Louisiana, the budworm/bollworm complex was No. 1, followed by stinkbug, lygus, thrips and aphids. No cotton was reported lost to boll weevils.

Mississippi's Number 1 pest was lygus, followed closely by bollworm/budworm, then stinkbug, fall armyworm and spider mites. Mississippi also reported no losses to the boll weevil. In addition, the first week of trapping data, May 2-8, revealed weevil-free fields in 95 percent of Mississippi's cotton.

Lygus was the top yield-reducing pest in Missouri in 2001, followed by cotton fleahopper, thrips, bollworm/budworm and boll weevil.

Stinkbugs were the top cotton pest in Tennessee last year, costing growers over 15,000 bales, followed by lygus, bollworm/budworm, thrips and boll weevils.

Total cost of management and loss to insects in the 2001 crop was $1.16 billion. The states with the highest loss plus cost per acre were Arizona, $165.54; Louisiana, $153.34; Mississippi, $140.90; Tennessee, $103.67; and Arkansas, $102.12.

Stinkbug was a very damaging pest in several states, including Alabama, reducing yield by over 44,000 bales, making it the top pest; Florida, 7,800 bales; Georgia, 41,600 bales; North Carolina, 53,000 bales; Oklahoma, 2,400 bales; South Carolina, 4,500 bales; and Texas, 5,400 bales.

The only states/regions which still had a significant loss to boll weevils were: Arkansas, 1,200 bales; Missouri, 1,087 bales; New Mexico, 714 bales; Tennessee, 2,250 bales; Texas Upper Coastal Bend, 13,250 bales; Texas High Plains, 914 bales; Texas Lower Rio Grande Valley, 8,600 bales; Texas Northern Blacklands, 396 bales; and the Texas Southern Blacklands, 450 bales.


e-mail: erobinson@primediabusiness.com.