Virginia Cotton: Time to be Concerned about Stink Bugs

    Pretty intensive scouting is indicating a building insect concern in Virginia. Overall, the only fields that I have found at threshold levels of stink bugs have been somewhat isolated regionally and only in the cotton that was planted on May 5 and 6 or earlier.

    Often the infestation is spotty with some heavy damage in a part of the field and then after you cross a bunch of rows, it is more difficult to find. 

    Detailed scouting is a good way to determine which fields should be sprayed and which fields that can wait another week. Otherwise, there does seem to be a high correlation of having a sprayable situation when cotton has been blooming for 3 weeks.

    Sometimes you may not know exactly when the field began blooming so you can use the planting date to estimate it. It seems like the cotton started blooming approximately 2 months after it was planted, perhaps a little quicker.

    Another way to see if you are at the highly susceptible stage is to find the lowest large boll and count nodes up to the highest white bloom. Six fruiting branches with bolls or blooms indicates it has been blooming for 3 weeks. Ten percent of the bolls with stink bug damage is the threshold once we reach the third week of bloom.

    Currently we are in front of the outbreak, but a lot of fields will be reaching that third week of bloom over the next week to 10 days.

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