Several pests are making an appearance in Arkansas row crops. “We had some high numbers of southwestern corn borers show up (in late May),” says Gus Lorenz, state Extension entomologist: “The first generation was obvious and out in force in the corn fields I’ve been looking at. Many of them had pupated. It appears that the second generation will be substantial.”

In rice, producers are seeing high numbers of rice water weevil. Since producers have begun flooding up, there have been many reports of leaf scarring.

“I fear we’ll be facing a large population of rice water weevils this summer,” says Lorenz. “We’re encouraging everyone to make applications for adults in situations they’re needed. They also need to dry the field down as soon as possible to get the larvae. Adults are laying eggs in the field and larvae are inevitable. The only way to control them is to dry the field down.”

Cotton aphid numbers are also fairly high. In some areas, including Deshay County, fields are at treatment levels.

“I believe the bulk of the story on how bad cotton aphids will get will be written by (June 21). For whatever reason, the northeast part of the state doesn’t seem to be as badly affected.”

Plant bug numbers in the state are “moderately high” for this time of year. “We’ve been sweeping edges and field borders,” says Lorenz. “We’re also finding a lot of plant bugs in early-season soybeans. As cotton begins to square, plant bugs are moving in and spraying is taking place.”

The pest that has Lorenz most concerned at this point is the stink bug. Stink bugs, primarily greens, “are back and making, well, a stink. (In the second week June) our early-season soybeans – those planted in March – are beginning to put pods on. Those fields have the best-looking beans I’ve ever seen at this time of year. But they are also full of stink bugs.”

Lorenz has seen several fields in Jefferson County that were at treatment level for stink bugs. This, he says, is unprecedented.

“Treatment level for stink bugs on June 3? That’s the earliest I’ve ever seen soybeans needing to be sprayed. We’re seeing tremendous numbers of stink bug egg-laying in these early beans.”

As he drives the state, Lorenz says he sees many weedy crops. “The winds during May really hurt us,” he says. “If we don’t get the fields cleaned up, it could mean more pest problems. Any time weeds get away from us, they become a host for many insects – some harmful to our crops.”

e-mail: dbennett@primediabusiness.com