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Fleahoppers replacing weevils as Oklahoma cotton’s top pest

Boll weevils are getting scarce through most of Oklahoma’s cotton production area and when the Texas Northern Blackland Zone effort begins to show results, it’s just a matter of time before the program can concentrate on post-eradication maintenance and paying off the note.

The Northern Blacklands initiated an eradication program with diapause treatments this fall.

“We caught a lot of weevils this year in counties (bordering) Northeast Texas,” said Miles Karner, Extension entomologist at Altus, Okla.

Across the rest of Oklahoma, we caught only one weevil all summer. We don’t know where it came from, probably hitchhiked in. But we did not have to spray in that area.”

Karner, on hand for a recent Oklahoma State University Southwestern Research and Extension Center field day, said farmers can’t rest on their accomplishment of getting rid of the weevil, however. Something else always pops up.

“Other pests are causing trouble,” he said. “Flea hoppers are the number one problem now. We spray more for flea hoppers than for any other pest.”

He said farmers also sprayed some beet armyworm and bollworms this summer. “We sprayed a little Bt cotton,” he said.

“We also treated some stink bug infestations.”

He said stinkbugs tend to move out of other fields, mostly peanuts and alfalfa, into cotton. ‘But I’ve seen rougher years.”

Karner said another trend he’s noticing is a switch to seed treatments for early-season insect control.

“Temik applied at planting is the treatment to beat,” he said, “but some farmers are turning to seed treatments, like Cruiser, for convenience and safety.” He said tests show little difference in control.

“We still need over-the-top applications.”

Karner said Bollgard II plots looked good. “Wide Strike, another Bt product, also shows promise.”

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