Department of Entomology

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Cotton Insect Pest Management

North Carolina is a major cotton producing state and, in the Coastal Plain and Tidewater regions, this crop is an important part of the field crop landscape and of the state’s rural economy. Due to decreased foliar insecticide applications following boll weevil (Anthonomus grandis grandis Boheman) eradication (Bacheler and Mott 1995), and the introduction of Bt cotton for lepidopteran pests such as tobacco budworm (Heliothis virescens Fabricius) and bollworm (Helicoverpa zea Boddie), pest complexes have shifted. This phenomenon is not unique to North Carolina and the U.S. In China, for example, a piercing sucking mirid bug has become a major pest on many crops, including cotton, in correlation to the widespread planting of Bt cotton (Lu et al. 2010). Stink bugs, also a piercing sucking pest, have become a major economic problem in the Southeastern U.S. (Greene et al. 1999, 2001). Additionally, because the Bt endotoxin is only effective against caterpillars, other pests such as cotton aphids, spider mites and thrips can be economically damaging.

  Cotton Insect Pests


Bacheler, J.S., and D.W. Mott. 1995. Annual fluctuations in late season boll damage from major lepidopterous pests in North Carolina: A ten-year perspective, pp. 783-786. In Proceedings of the Beltwide Cotton Conference, 4-7 January 1995, San Antonio, TX. National Cotton Conference of America, Memphis, TN.

Greene, J.K., S.G. Turnipseed, M.J. Sullivan, and G.A. Herzog. 1999. Boll damage by southern green stink bug (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) and tarnished plant bug (Hemiptera: Miridae) caged on transgenic Bacillus thuringiensis cotton. J. Econ. Entomol. 92: 941-944.

Greene, J.K., S.G. Turnipseed, M.J. Sullivan and O.L. May. 2001. Treatment thresholds for stink bugs (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) in cotton. J. Econ. Entomol. 94: 403-409.

Lu, Y., K. Wu, Y. Jiang, B. Xia, P. Li, H. Feng, K.A.G. Wyckhuys, and Y. Guo. 2010. Mirid bug outbreaks in multiple crops correlated with wide-scale adoption of Bt cotton in China. Science. 328: 1151-1154.
Field Crop Entomology Home

NC Ag Chemical Manual

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Cotton Insect Corner

Small Grain Production Guide

NCSU Entomology

Current research and updates are performed by Dr. Dominic Reisig (Extension Entomologist) and Steven Roberson (Research Specialist). Based on original material of Dr. John Van Duyn (Extension Entomologist, Emeritus).
Information may be used with proper citation