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Stink bugs in cotton

Green stinkbugs are showing up in the margins of cotton fields, according to Terry Pitts, Oklahoma State University Extension integrated pest management specialist at the Southwest Research and Extension Center in Altus, Okla.

Pitts said while stinkbugs have been hard to find in the past, they are more likely around because of water-soaked fields like those found in the Southeast, where they are a common cotton pest.

"The rule of thumb," Pitts said, "is to treat stinkbugs when 10 percent to 50 percent of bolls show damage. Damage caused by stinkbugs includes small growth inside the boll wall. After feeding occurs, the boll will be contaminated and rot will result from diseases carried by the stinkbug."

Recent research from southeastern states, Pitts said, show a "dynamic threshold" provides the best return on control costs. The threshold, he said, is dependent on the week of bloom where the first week of bloom allows 50 percent boll damage down to 10 percent in weeks three to five after first bloom.

Once the boll reaches the size of a quarter, it is safe from stinkbug damage, Pitts said. The bugs are not capable of penetrating the boll wall with their long slender mouth parts, so no diseases enter the boll wall from the feeding wound.

"Remember stinkbugs are nocturnal feeders and tend to be clumped together in cotton," Pitts said. "They often migrate from corn, grain sorghum or peanuts growing next to cotton. Weeds on the edges of fields also can support several stinkbugs, so check those areas when scouting."

Products giving good control on stinkbugs include Bidrin XP plus Bifenthrin, Endigo, pyrethroids, Leverage, Acephate, and Vydate, Pitts said. For more information, Pitts suggests contacting your local county OSU Extension educator. Pitts' email address is [email protected]. The Southwest Research and Extension Center’s phone is 580-482-2120. Pitts' office phone is 580-482-8880. His cell phone is 580-318-0208.

TALKIN' COTTON is produced by NTOK Cotton, a cotton industry partnership which supports and encourages increased cotton production in the Rolling Plains of North Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. For more information on the cotton scene, see and For questions or comments on Talkin' Cotton, contact [email protected].

TAGS: Cotton
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