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Optional Management Tactics for the Sucking Bug Complex in Advanced Bt Cotton

Sam Turnipseed, Mike Sullivan, Ahmad Khalilian, Phil Roberts, and Glen Rains


Sucking bugs (such as tarnished plant bug, Lygus lineolaris and Stink bugs: Acrosternum hilare, Euschistus servus, Nezara viridula ) have become a major problem in current B.t. varieties primarily because of reductions in insecticide use against lepidopteran pests that also provided coincidental control of these bugs. Success of the Boll Weevil Eradication Program has resulted in additional reductions in insecticide use for control of boll weevil. As advanced B.t. cottons such as Monsanto’s Bollgard II and Dow Agrosciences’s Widestrike are grown, few, if any, insecticides will be needed for lepidopteran pests and sucking bugs will become even more important. We cannot expect farmers to pay for these new technologies unless they are confident that sucking bugs can be managed effectively and efficiently. Our current treatment thresholds are based on numbers of insects per meter of row determined using a drop cloth or sweep net, combined with percentage of bolls damaged which is determined by mashing bolls open and examining them for punctures, internal warts, and seed or lint staining. These thresholds are cumbersome, time consuming, and are not fully utilized by most decision makers. Obviously, cotton farmers need more efficient and dynamic thresholds that are responsive to 1) the actual species involved, 2) boll development which outstrips insect development in mid-season, and 3) other factors such as bugs vs. boll rot, hard lock, lint quality. We present data and suggest ways that this sucking bug problem can be managed.

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Document last modified 04/27/04