Article by Jack Bacheler
Like our rainfall patterns, insect levels appeared to be all over the map this past week, with each consultant or grower sharing a different story. With light trap catches still surprisingly low in most areas, cotton bollworm establishment on squares and under bloom tags seems to be far less of a present issue than possible green and brown stink bug damage to young bolls. A high proportion of our cotton is still in the most susceptible 3rd through 5th week of bloom stage when the protective 10% internal quarter-sized boll threshold is recommended. We are still getting reports of boll damage ranging from single digits to the mid to high 20% level across different areas of the state. This is the prime time to be vigilant on assessing quarter-sized bolls. Remember that by confining boll damage assessments to approximately inch bolls, counting the same old boll damage from one week to the next is eliminated, thus minimizing sprays in situations where stink bugs may no longer be present. We think that soybeans may also be subjected to higher than average levels of stink bugs in 2012, especially when pod development begins, a stage at which stink bugs become increasingly attracted to bean fields.