All posts by Scott Stewart, IPM Extension Specialist

Reminder – UT Cotton Scout School (8:30, Friday May 29th via Zoom)

Because of the COVID-19 situation, the 2020 UT Cotton Scout School will be held by webinar (via Zoom) on May 29th, beginning at 8:30 AM and ending by Noon. Participants will be required to preregister to receive the Zoom password to enter the meeting. To preregister, please email LaDonn Kelso at She will reply to your message with the Zoom meeting password.

Pesticide re-certification points and Continue reading

Moth Trapping Data

Corn earworm (bollworm) moth

A reminder that moth trapping data are updated weekly at, and you can also access these data on the Quick Links of this site.  Pheromone-baited traps are run for corn earworm (bollworm), tobacco budworm, and southwestern corn borer.

Currently, moth trap catches are generally low, as typically observed this time of year.

Insects on the Radar

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Black cutworm and cut cotton plant

This article is a reminder about some critters we need to watch for in the coming few weeks. It’s easy to let something slip through the cracks when you are distracted with planting operations. Try to circle back to emerging fields as best you’re able during the first 2-3 weeks after planting to check on plant stands and other issues.

Wheat – True armyworm is the insect most likely to cause issues at this time of year. Even so, it doesn’t commonly require treatment. However, excessive defoliation before the dough stage can reduce yields, and this pest is easily controlled with pyrethroid insecticides. The treatment threshold is 6-8 larvae per square foot while wheat is still in the milk stage. You can read more about true armyworms at Continue reading

Using the Thrips Infestation Predictor for Cotton

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The Thrips Infestation Predictor for Cotton can be found at  This is a useful tool for predicting whether a foliar insecticide application is needed for thrips control in cotton. It uses local weather data in association with a user defined planting date to estimate the size of the local thrips population, the susceptibility of seedling plants, and thus, the risk of thrips injury. The model is for tobacco thrips, by far the most common species infesting cotton in Tennessee. Continue reading

Thinking About Insect Pests During Planting Season

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Black cutworm and cut cotton plant

There are some basic management practices that can affect, sometimes worsen, and other times be used to reduce risks of insect pest injury. Below, I’ve included some observations and suggestions for your consideration.

As a general rule of thumb (but not universally true), no-till production increases the risk of some problems including pests like cutworm, threecornered alfalfa hopper, slugs, and several below ground pests (e.g., wireworms and white grubs). Of course, tillage is not an option in most areas of Tennessee. Thus, most entomologists suggest Continue reading

Video About Dectes Stem Borer in Soybean (Dr. Nick Seiter, Univ. Illinois)

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Below is a YouTube video from Dr. Nick Seiter from the University of Illinois that does a good job of reviewing this biology and management of Dectes stem borer in soybeans. Dr. Seiter and I are on the same page, and this video compliments my recent article about Dectes stem borer.

Let’s rap about Dectes stem borer in soybean … not as bad as you think

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Over the years and several times in the last month, I’ve had folks tell me how bad Dectes stem borer hurt their soybean yields. Almost without exception, they describe low yielding spots in their fields and/or weak, dying, and dead plants … and they found a lot of Dectes larvae in the stems. They are convinced the two are related and look at me like I’m crazy when I suggest they are not. Here’s what I know. Don’t forget to look at the photos included at the bottom of this article!

What do we know about the biology and pest status of the Dectes stem borer? Continue reading