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Comparisons of Cotton Boll Injury Caused by Four Species of Boll-Feeding Insects (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae and Miridae)
James P. Glover, and Michael J. Brewer
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Field experiments with individually caged cotton bolls were conducted in 2013 and 2014 to characterize boll injury from a species complex of boll-feeding insects represented by the verde plant bug, Creontiades signatus (Distant) (Hemiptera: Miridae); redbanded stink bug, Piezodorus guildinii (Westwood); brown stink bug, Euschistus servus (Say); and green stink bug, Chinavia hilaris (Say) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae). Field-collected adult bugs were used individually to infest single cotton bolls of several ages (0-7 days post-anthesis) previously maintained free of insect injury. Individual cotton bolls were infested at mid-bloom for seven days with one bug per boll for each species, and an uninfested control was included. Species and boll age varied across years, allowing selective within-year comparisons. Response to feeding resulted in reduced boll retention, increased boll injury in the form of reduced lint, and increased frequency of boll rot. Results showed that verde plant bugs readily fed on comparatively less mature bolls and feeding decreased boll retention. In contrast, stink bugs fed on larger bolls and caused significant injury. Variation in boll retention, boll injury, cotton boll rot, and yield were associated primarily with species differences and secondarily with boll age from 0 to 7 days old. Boll injury was apparent across species and subsequent yield reduction attributed to insect feeding was detected for all species, except the redbanded stink bug.