The Mid-South Entomologist Working Group received the 2011 Friends of IPM Pulling Together Award for outstanding contributions to integrated pest management in the South during the Beltwide Cotton Conferences in Atlanta, Ga. on Jan. 5.

Stephen Toth, associate director, Southern Region Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Center based at North Carolina State University, presented the Center’s award for the group’s successful efforts to develop thresholds for the tarnished plant bug.

Members of the award-winning group include: Gus Lorenz, Scott Akin, and Glenn Studebaker of the University of Arkansas; Rogers Leonard, Louisiana State University; Fred Musser, Angus Catchot, Don Cook, and Jeff Gore of Mississippi State University; Ryan Jackson and Gordon Snodgrass, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Stoneville, Miss.; Scott Stewart, University of Tennessee; and Kelly Tindall, University of Missouri.

After the successes of boll weevil eradication and transgenic cotton, the tarnished plant bug surfaced as a new key pest of cotton, Toth said.

In 2007, growers applied insecticides to control the tarnished plant bug with costs ranging from $7/acre to nearly $25/acre. The national average was $8.81/acre. Growers in the Mid-South region had no consistent treatment for the pest.

In 2005, extension entomologists from Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana began working together to develop thresholds; specifically to give growers pre-bloom and mid-season treatment thresholds for the pest and to identify efficient sampling methods. Entomologists from Missouri joined the group in 2007.

 “Cotton growers in the Mid-South now have a valid, consistent treatment threshold for tarnished plant bugs,” said Toth in honoring the entomologists. “Because of the consistent recommendations among the states, growers and consultants in the Mid-South have increased the adoption of university IPM recommendations.”

Today, more than 75 percent of consultants use recommended black cloth for sampling, compared to about 25 percent several years ago.

The IPM group is now evaluating the value of insecticidal and nematicidal seed treatments in cotton, soybeans, and corn, plus thresholds and control options for other pests.

“IPM is a group effort involving entomologists, plant pathologists, and others working with growers in different crops and regions to promote IPM,” Toth noted.

This is the fourth year the Center has presented the Friends of IPM Pulling Together Award.