Primarily, three stink bug species – the green stink bug (Acrosternum hilare Say), the southern green stink bug [Nezara viridula (L.)], and the brown stink bug [Euschitus servus (Say)] attack cotton. In recent years these pests have become a dominant pest, especially in the Southeast. In the past multiple applications of organophosphate insecticides directed against boll weevil and bollworm coincidentally tended to keep stink bugs at acceptably low levels. Now, with completion of the Boll Weevil Eradication Program in many parts of the cottonbelt and the introduction of Bt cotton these insecticides are no longer applied to the same degree.
Plant feeding stink bugs are typically seed feeders, and thus, injury to cotton bolls is the primary concern. They feed by inserting their slender mouthparts into plant tissues and extracting enzymatically liquidfied material. In addition, they often inject a hardlock-inducing pathogen such as Nematospora coryli Peglion during the feeding process.