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Webcasts Provided by Cotton Incorporated

Focus on Cotton

Thrips Control in Cotton … and
Closely Related Stuff

By Scott D. Stewart, Ph.D.
Row Crops IPM Specialist
Department of Entomology
and Plant Pathology
The University of Tennessee

Watch Presentation (22 min 37 sec)

for PC, Mac, and Mobile Devices (23.3 MB)

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Summary: Thrips and particularly the tobacco thrips are consistently among the top-three pests of cotton in the Mid-South and the Southeast. Thrips injury can stunt seedling plants, delay maturity, and reduce yields. Historical data collected in the Mid-South indicates that using effective at-planting insecticides for thrips control increases yields by an average of more than 100 pounds of lint per acre. Seed treatments and in-furrow applications can also be used to manage thrips populations, and foliar insecticide applications are sometimes justified to supplement thrips control. The need for a foliar insecticide application is dependent on environmental conditions and the population density of thrips. Recent data from the upper Mid-South and especially Tennessee show that tobacco thrips are developing resistance to acephate and perhaps other organophosphate insecticides, leaving spinetoram as a more effective option. Given the relatively high cost of spinetoram products, it is critical to correctly judge the need for a foliar insecticide application. A new “thrips infestation predictor” model for cotton can help crop advisors predict the risk of high tobacco thrips populations based on local environmental conditions and planting date. This model has proven very useful in assessing the need for foliar-applied insecticides to control thrips. Bayer is developing a new Bt cotton technology that shows considerable promise in protecting seedlings from thrips injury and reducing any need for foliar insecticide applications for thrips control. However, the technology is not currently registered for use.

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