The University of Arizona (UA) is seeking a handful of Arizona upland cotton growers located in central Arizona and Yuma to participate in pest management strategy field trials to generate improved lygus bug control strategies.

The lygus bug is the No. 1 pest of Arizona cotton growers.

Peter Ellsworth, entomologist with the University of Arizona (UA) Maricopa Agricultural Center, Maricopa, Ariz., wants to “split” the growers’ fields in half utilizing the growers’ current lygus-control strategies on one side and different methods on the other.

Current lygus-control strategies include studying the timing or thresholds for initial or follow-up lygus control applications, timing the last spray for lygus, and insecticides. Ellsworth wants growers to test the new insecticide Carbine which provides lygus control while protecting beneficial insects.

“By modifying their farm scape, in-field practices, and the management of their own farm resources, we’re hopeful we can lower the lygus density to make the pest more manageable,” Ellsworth said.

“Then we can monitor the lygus, get precise numbers, and if appropriate and feasible gain yield information on the contrasted fields to see if we can get more bang for the buck in lygus control.”

The field trials are part of a four-year, multi-state research project aimed at reducing pests in field crops in the West and Southwest. The UA is the lead institution on the $2.5 million project funded by the USDA’s Risk Avoidance and Mitigation Program.

Dozens of principal scientists and scientific collaborators are involved in the project including: the UA, University of California (UC), Davis; UC Integrated Pest Management Program; USDA, Shafter, Calif.; USDA-ARS, Maricopa, Ariz.; Texas A&M AgriLife; and McGill University in Canada.

“Our goal is to determine if we can lower pest densities in the West and Southwest,” Ellsworth said.

As part of this large effort, over 50 grower fields each in California from San Joaquin to Corcoran, in Arizona from Eloy to Maricopa, and throughout the Lubbock area of West Texas are part of a regional ecology project to determine the extent and range of lygus movement in the Western landscape.

The entire research project is in its third year.

In addition to upland cotton, lygus control is also under review in Pima cotton, vegetable seed crops, seed alfalfa, eggplant, dry beans, chile, guayule and lesquerella.

For more information, contact Ellsworth at (520) 381-2225 or peterell@ag.arizona.edu.

email: cblake@farmpress.com