Stink bug damage in cotton has increased throughout the Southeast in recent years, going from less than 0.1% damage in 1992 to an estimated 200,000 bales lost Beltwide in 2005. Changes in cotton production have elevated this pest to a new level in recent years.

University of Georgia Entomologist Phillip Roberts says this change is due to overall reduced use of broad spectrum insecticides. In the past, he explains, stinkbugs were kept in check by insecticides targeted primarily for other cotton pests.

The Boll Weevil Eradication Program, extensive use of Bt cotton and increased availability of selective insecticides have all contributed to reduced incidental control of stinkbugs, says Roberts.

Quantifying stained lint and internal warts on the bolls, which are internal signs of bug feeding, is critical to managing stinkbugs, he says. Drop cloths, sweep nets and physically scouting plants are needed to determine level of insect infestations and type of stinkbug present in the field.
Farm Press Daily