The best insect management strategy is knowledge based on a good understanding of the crop; the pest - whether an insect, weed, or disease; the insecticide or trait; and the impact of cultural practices. This understanding paves the way to better informed decisions.

“We must truly understand the system and how the incorporation of new technology or a loss of technology can impact IPM programs,” Roberts said.

Roberts says Southeastern cotton growers this year will find a shortage of aldicarb, the active ingredient in the insecticide Temik, a standard at-plant insecticide. Temik is used to combat thrips and other insects.

Some growers will use alternative methods including neonic seed treatments. Roberts says growers should understand the issues associated with any product technology.

“Decisions made in thrips management could influence pest dynamics during the mid season,” Roberts said. “A foliar spray for thrips could flare aphid numbers … Multiple plant bug sprays could flare spider mites. The treadmill continues.”

Roberts says IPM is a proven program with good resistance management. IPM can reduce the need for insecticides thus reducing selection pressure for resistant pest populations. Efficacious insecticides are a vital component of IPM programs.

“We are managing a complex of insects. The potential of flaring non-target pests, suppressing sub-economic pests present at the time of application, and resistance management must all be considered when selecting insecticides.”

Cotton growers have a good arsenal of insect control tools. Improved control of true bugs is needed, says Roberts. Growers can expect the registration of new active ingredients including Sulfoxaflor with good activity on sucking pests.

In closing, Roberts said, “We must do all we can to preserve current tools. Resistance management must be a priority … IPM should be used to the fullest extent possible.”