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Anticipated Changes in Mid-South Insect Management Resulting from Adoption of Bt-Transgenic Cotton

Blake Layton


Utilization of Bt-transgenic cotton will greatly reduce the number of foliar insecticide applications required to control caterpillar pests such as bollworm and tobacco budworm. This reduction in foliar insecticide use will indirectly affect populations of non-caterpillar pests. Beneficial insect populations will be affected favorably and should thus be able to provide additional suppression of pests such as aphids, whitefly, and spider mite. However, the number of insecticide treatments specifically targeting pests such as: boll weevils, plant bugs, and stink bugs will likely increase in Bt-transgenic cotton. This is due to the absence of the inadvertent control of these pests that is often provided by mid to late season treatments targeting caterpillar pests.

Bt-transgenic cotton is one of the most innovative methods of insect control ever to be developed for use in Mid-South cotton fields. Its introduction comes at a time when there is a critical need for new technology with which to manage cotton insect pests, as widespread resistance to currently available insecticides has caused control costs to rise to alarming levels and risks of control failures increase each year. Therefore, adoption of Bt cotton likely will be very rapid, especially in areas where resistance problems are most severe.

Reprinted from Proceedings of the 1996 Beltwide Cotton Conferences pp. 160 - 161
©National Cotton Council, Memphis TN

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Document last modified Sunday, Dec 6 1998