Stink bugs were the No. 3 most-damaging pests, the report said. “One again, these pests are concentrated in the Southeast. North Carolina, Florida and Alabama reported the highest losses. A number of states reported no infestations high enough to cause losses. About 47 percent of U.S. acres were infested with stink bug in 2011, and losses were 0.5 percent.”

Heliothines were the fourth most damaging pest for U.S. cotton producers in 2011, at 0.38 percent loss, according to the survey. It’s been a long time since the worm complex has fallen this low, according to Williams. “Hopefully, this is a trend we’re going to see continue. Fifty-six percent of the acres were infested with heliothines. Tennessee and Arkansas were the highest-loss states, and Louisiana was third.”

Much of the reduced loss to heliothines was due to the 8.9 million acres planted to Bt technology, noted Williams. “Bollgard II was planted on 6.9 million acres, while WideStrike cotton was planted on 1.9 million acres.”

Spider mites were the fifth most-damaging pest in 2011, Williams said, at 0.167 percent loss. “Spider mites infested about 42 percent of our acres, and 57,000 bales were taken by the pest. States that did not report losses to spider mites were Florida, Virginia, Kansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.”

Flea hoppers, the sixth most-damaging insect at .05 percent, were concentrated in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas in 2011, although losses were also reported in Mississippi and Arizona.

Clouded plant bugs took 10,000 bales in two states, Mississippi and Tennessee, while no other state reported losses.

Eight states reported no losses to aphids in 2011, according to Williams. “About 6 million acres were infested with aphids in 2011.”

Silverleaf whitefly infested a little over 600,000 acres in 2011, the report said, and produced losses of 10,000 bales. “This is one of those pests that we see mostly in the West, and there are some reports of losses in Texas and one report in Georgia.”

A long-time inhabitant of both cotton fields and the Cotton Insect Losses report, boll weevil, continues to slide into obscurity. “But we’re still paying an average $4.44 an acre across the Cotton Belt for boll weevil eradication and/or management. Texas is the only state that had acres infested with boll weevil in 2011. Texas reported no lost bales.”

Losses to other insects took nearly 55,000 bales in 2011, the report said. “There are four or five different critters.”

There were 32 insects rated in 2011, but 13 of them contributed less than 0.01 percent losses. 

erobinson@farmpress.com