Thrips Infestation Predictor for Cotton:
An Online Tool for Informed
By George G. Kennedy, Ph.D.
Professor of Agriculture
Department of Entomology
and Plant Pathology
North Carolina State University
Watch Presentation (11 min 44 sec)
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The tobacco thrips (Frankliniella fusca) is the primary early season insect pest of cotton in the eastern United States. It attacks seedlings damaging young foliage, slowing seedling growth and reducing root growth; rendering the plants more vulnerable to abiotic stresses later in the season. Because the amount of thrips damage to cotton is highly variable among locations and planting dates within and among years, thrips control measures are applied prophylactically and typically involve insecticidal seed treatments and/or systemic insecticides applied in the seed furrow. In addition, a foliar insecticide is often applied. This presentation describes an on-line tool that can be used prior to planting to obtain predictions of risk that damaging thrips populations will occur. These predictions are both planting date and location specific. The information provided by the tool can be used to optimize selection of thrips management measures for individual fields and to prioritize scouting based on risk of exposure to damaging thrips populations; leading to more efficient allocation of time and resources for thrips control among planting dates and locations.