Planning for Thrips Infestations in 2019 Cotton (Huseth, Reisig)

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Tobacco thrips surveys across the northern coastal plain found moderate numbers of tobacco thrips in weeds and wheat (Bertie, Camden, Edgecombe, Nash, Pasquotank, Wilson). As temperatures warm, populations are expected to grow rapidly over the next few weeks. With this buildup, thrips populations pose a risk to damage seedling cotton, especially if temperatures cool and early planted cotton grows slowly.

cotton field

Plan for tobacco thrips movement from weeds and wheat into seedling cotton.

Predicting thrips infestations will be most important for the earliest cotton when planting conditions may be marginal. To understand which fields are at risk for damage, the Thrips Infestation Predictor can be a useful tool to predict relative thrips injury risk for specific planting dates and fields.

Because the tool provides a damage risk forecast, check the risk projections before planting to understand which fields are at the greatest risk for damage. Note that predictions become more accurate the closer they are to a given planting date since they are based partly on local weather conditions. One major advantage of the tool is that can be used to hindcast thrips risk, so if fields have been planted and it can be used to determine damage potential before the seedlings germinate and emerge. Consider more aggressive insecticide management scenarios in high-risk situations and consider using fewer insecticides in lower-risk situations.

With neonicotinoid resistance present throughout the cotton production region of the state, timely foliar sprays may be necessary for fields with a history of damage or locations that were seeded into a high-risk situation for thrips injury as predicted by the Thrips Infestation Predictor model.

Navigate to the Thrips Infestation Predictor.

Navigate to an earlier post on thrips control decisions