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Cotton bollworm moth numbers increased significantly during the second week of August at the Limestone and Elmore county sites. Tobacco budworm moth numbers nearly doubled at the Henry county site, but held fairly steady at the Elmore, Autauga and Limestone county sites. There was a noticeable increase in soybean looper moths trapped during the second week of August at the Autauga and Elmore county sites while numbers remained significant at the Escambia and Limestone county sites. Infestation levels of cotton bollworms in Bollgard 2 and regular Widestrike varieties triggered treatments this week in some cotton fields in the Huntsville area. There have been few reports of bollworms reaching treatable infestation levels in the rest of the state this week. Clouded plant bugs were reported to be the predominant plant bug pest in some Blackbelt cotton fields. Tarnished plant bugs , stink bugs and leaf-footed bugs were the most common pests of cotton fields in Mobile county. Bollworms (=pod worms) have been reported to be present in soybeans but the numbers we have heard about this week are relatively low. Soybean looper (SBL) numbers are increasing in some areas of the state. Loopers numbered 6 per row foot with 5% defoliation in soybeans planted the last week of July at the Gulf Coast station at Fairhope on 8/15 with 60% of the loopers still small. Ground cloth samples yielded just above 4 SBL's per row foot in an insecticide trial at Brewton on 8/15 and today (8/18) the defoliation level has reached 15% in untreated plots. Similar looper numbers and defoliation levels were observed at the Headland station today. SBL numbers are also increasing at the Prattville Ag Research unit and defoliation is starting to increase toward 5% in some later-planted soybeans. A report from the Blackbelt region stated that there were mixed populations of caterpillars in soybeans in the Dallas/Marengo county area that included SBL, green cloverworms and velvetbean caterpillars. Fungal disease has significantly reduced the kudzu bug population at Brewton and Prattville.
The silverleaf white fly continues to move westward in the Wiregrass region infesting both cotton and soybeans. Later-planted cotton is especially at risk and the chemicals recommended to control this pest are in very short supply. Cotton that is cutting out now may not be damaged if no immatures are present. A Timely Information newsletter with detailed information about this pest will be provided next week.
Click here for a table showing moth trap catches.
Extension Specialist, Agronomic Crops
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