Suhas Vyavhare, Extension Cotton Entomologist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
Showers over the last week should help cotton that was struggling earlier to stay alive and catch up with the progress. Most fields should fairly be safe from thrips at this stage. Many fields have already started squaring and becoming more attractive to flower feeding plant bugs such as the cotton fleahopper. Cotton fleahoppers prefer to feed on small squares (pinhead size) and can drastically reduce the fruiting sites in no time when in large numbers. When scouting for fleahoppers one should pay attention to both number of insects in field and the percent square retention especially during the first three weeks of squaring. I haven’t seen any major cotton fleahopper activity yet as numbers still remain scarce. This may be due to earlier hot and dry spell and the unavailability of alternate host plants to buildup fleahopper populations. However, fleahopper populations are unpredictable and can rise quickly in spots which is why it is important to keep a close watch on them. If you are seeing any square loss but no signs of plant bugs—that could just be the hot and dry weather causing it.
Here is a link to access our new fact sheet for more information on the management of cotton fleahopper.
Also, check out our video to learn more about the cotton fleahopper and how to scout for it: