​​Thrips Control in Cotton … and Closely Related Stuff

February 2020 | 22 min., 37 sec.
by Scott D. Stewart
The University of Tennessee

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​Thrips and particularly the tobacco thrips are consistently among the top-three pests of cotton in the Mid-South and the Southeast. Thrips injury can stunt seedling plants, delay maturity, and reduce yields. Historical data collected in the Mid-South indicates that using effective at-planting insecticides for thrips control increases yields by an average of more than 100 pounds of lint per acre. Seed treatments and in-furrow applications can also be used to manage thrips populations, and foliar insecticide applications are sometimes justified to supplement thrips control. The need for a foliar insecticide application is dependent on environmental conditions and the population density of thrips. Recent data from the upper Mid-South and especially Tennessee show that tobacco thrips are developing resistance to acephate and perhaps other organophosphate insecticides, leaving spinetoram as a more effective option. Given the relatively high cost of spinetoram products, it is critical to correctly judge the need for a foliar insecticide application. A new “thrips infestation predictor” model for cotton can help crop advisors predict the risk of high tobacco thrips populations based on local environmental conditions and planting date. This model has proven very useful in assessing the need for foliar-applied insecticides to control thrips. Bayer is developing a new Bt cotton technology that shows considerable promise in protecting seedlings from thrips injury and reducing any need for foliar insecticide applications for thrips control. However, the technology is not currently registered for use.

About the Presenter

Scott D. StewartScott D. Stewart is the Extension IPM Coordinator and Professor of Entomology at the University of Tennessee. He is located at the West Tennessee Research and Education Center in Jackson. His expertise is in row crops entomology with emphasis on cotton, corn, soybean, sorghum and wheat. Before his current position, Scott had research, teaching, and extension responsibilities in row crops IPM at Mississippi State University. Scott received his bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Northern Iowa. He completed his MS and PhD in entomology from Texas A&M and Auburn University, respectively. Scott develops and presents educational programs related to row crops IPM and also performs applied research including the evaluation of insecticide efficacy, GMO technologies, and other IPM tactics.​

Contact Information:
Email: sdstewart@utk.edu


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