Project Summaries

10-648TN  Project Manager: P. F. O'Leary


Scott D. Stewart, University of Tennessee

Funding is used to partially support general extension activities such as scout training, moth trapping, resistance monitoring, insecticide testing and on-farm evaluations of various insect control technologies and treatment thresholds.  Funding is also used to help support regional projects, several of which are also partially supported by core grants from Cotton Incorporated.  Pheromone moth trapping for bollworm, tobacco budworm, and beet armyworm are improving the decision making of crop managers.  In 2012, moth catches for each county were reported weekly on the UTcrops News Blog ( This information and other IPM news updates were distributed to agents, producers, consultants and other agricultural professionals. Statewide, average moth catches for bollworm (i.e., corn earworm) and tobacco budworm were similar to average moth catches since 2004. Moth traps did well at predicting the localized corn earworm (bollworm) pressure that were observed at some locations.  Tests at the West Tennessee Research an Education Center, where moderate to high bollworm pressure was observed, indicated that Bt technologies including WideStrike, Bollgard II, and TwinLink provided substantial protection from bollworm infestation.  Assays using bollworm moths indicated low to moderate resistance to pyrethroid insecticides that would probably not result in field control failures unless larval populations were unusually high.   The occurrence of cotton aphid resistance to neonicotinoid insecticides was confirmed for the first time in Tennessee.

As part of several multi-state projects, several experiments were done in Tennessee including the evaluation of insecticide/nematicide seed treatments, the response of different varieties to spider mite infestations, and the impact of spray adjuvants and volume on the control of tarnished plant bug, spider mites and thrips. Comprehensive reports for these efforts have been submitted by the appropriate project leaders, but abbreviated reports for these projects are included within. At-planting insecticide/fungicide/nematicide seed treatments did not improve cotton yields.  However, we observed generally poor performance of insecticide seed treatments, and thiamethoxam (Cruiser) in particular, in controlling thrips populations and injury. Spider mite infestations significantly reduced yields of cotton, but all varieties tested responded similarly.  Using adjuvants did not improve the control of tarnished plant bugs, spider mites or thrips with application of selected insecticides.  Unlike data collected in 2011, we did not observe any negative effects of adjuvants on insecticide performance. A substantial effort was initiated to investigate how neonicotinoid insecticides potentially impact pollinator health, but results are not available at this time.

About 30 additional experiments related to insect pest management in cotton were successfully completed in 2012.  These evaluations included many insecticide efficacy trials for thrips, spider mites, plant bugs, stink bugs, bollworm, and included several new insecticides.  The data generated from these above experiments are used to validate and modify extension insect control recommendations in Tennessee. The results of most experiments have been individually summarized and published on the website (


Project Year: 2012

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