Cotton farmers may be able to limit insecticide use to control bugs that destroy the crop. USDA researchers found that the size and age of western tarnished plant bugs are factors on whether cotton should be sprayed. Generally, farmers use the “sweepnet” method that requires a walk through the field waving a hand-held net. They farmers count the number of bugs that were captured. Based on that number, farmers determine whether or not to spray. The study released the bugs into rows of upland and pima cotton over two growing seasons. The results showed that most of the bugs collected using the “sweepnet” method were mature adults that cause less damage. In pima cotton, the damage-inducing younger adults preferred to feed on the ends of plant branches, which are shielded by foliage. Learn more.
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