This week I saw very little in the field. One field near Palacios had high enough numbers of cotton aphids to warrant treatment, and I have heard reports of treatable aphid levels in the valley as well. The threshold for cotton aphids is 50 aphids per leaf, and if you see the aphid mummies in the field, that's a good thing. Parasitoid wasps lay eggs in the aphids, and the aphid forms a mummy while the wasp larvae pupates inside. These wasps, lady beetles, and lacewings all can make a dent in aphid numbers.
Cotton fleahoppers are cropping up around. Low numbers of them are present in all three counties. This insect feeds on plant materials, and will feed on cotton squares. Cotton is squaring in Jackson and Matagorda counties, as well as in the earlier fields in Wharton. Keep and eye out for this insect, the adults are very flighty when checking your fields. I try not to let my shadow hit a plant before I look at it so I can see the adults before they fly. On the left, the adult is in the top photo, and the nymph on the bottom. The nymphs of these insects are also quite small, about the size of an aphid. They are also a pale green color, but lack wings. They nymphs can be easy to confuse with the nymphs of minute pirate bugs, but the minute pirate bug nymphs tend to be orange and are shaped more like a teardrop. Fleahopper nymphs lack the bands on the antennae a few other species of plant bugs have, and have a similar body shape to the adult bug.
Fleahopper feeding will cause squares to drop. Plants can recover for and compensate for some square loss, but the threshold for fleahoppers is 15-20 per 100 plants.
The chart below contains insecticide suggestions from cottonbugs.tamu.edu (also a good resource) for reference if you have fleahoppers at the action threshold.
There are corn leaf aphids in some of the sorghum in Jackson county. So far we have not seen any need to treat for them. Sugarcane aphids are moving into the sorghum south of us, but I have not seen any in Jackson or Matagorda county yet. Please give me a call or send me an email if you see them moving into sorghum.
Lovebugs are still everywhere. They are flies in the Bibionidae family, the adults do not bite, and the larvae are decomposers. They are a pain to get off the windshield. They have mating flights in mass, which is what we are seeing now. Dish soap can help get them off the windshield, but the longer they stay on the car the more difficult they are to remove, and the more likely they are to cause damage to the finish. Check out this website for more information on lovebugs.