Currently, Dr. David Kerns has been finding increasing numbers of cotton fleahoppers in cotton on the Macon Ridge Research Station. Fleahoppers are small, 1/8 inch, insects that have an oval shaped, elongated body. These insects are yellow to green and resemble other Hemipteran true bugs. They essentially look like a very small, green tarnished plant bug.
Cotton should be scouted for fleahoppers the first three weeks of squaring. Detection can be difficult due to the flighty nature of these insects. Simply casting a shadow over the pest will often make them take flight. Louisiana pre-bloom thresholds for fleahoppers are 10 to 25 insects per 100 sweeps with adjusted pre-bloom treatment levels to maintain between 70 and 85% first position square retention.
However, scouting small cotton with a sweep net is difficult and produces questionable results. Additionally, detecting small fleahopper nymphs in a sweep net is difficult as well. A better technique is to simply examine the terminal of plants watching for adults taking flight and then examining the terminal very closely for small nymphs. Morning is the best time to scout for fleahoppers and if the wind is blowing, they take shelter in the plant canopy.
Control of cotton fleahoppers can often be obtained with lower label rates of insecticides than rates used for other plant bug insect pests. Fleahoppers are typically fairly easy to control with insecticides. Insecticides that are commonly used include Acephate at 4 oz/ac, Centric at 1.5 oz/ac and Bidrin at 3.2 fl-oz/ac.
If you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact Dr. David Kerns or Sebe Brown for more information.
Dr. David Kerns Cell: 318-439-4844 Office: 318-435-2157 Sebe Brown Cell: 318-498-1283 Office: 318-435-2903