For spider miteit’s a bit more difficult to decide what to do as there are no real economic treatment thresholds established for spider mites at this stage of plant development. I have observed spider mites on pre-squaring cotton over the years where little yield impact was observed even under extended dry conditions. However, we finally got enough rain to cause decrease in spider mite numbers. In general, I think it wise to see sustained heavy mite buildup before treatments are considered.

Many cotton fields are just starting to produce squares; therefore, cotton fleahopperscouting should intensify.

Some growers have wondered if the treatment threshold should be lowered because of the cotton price; the answer to that question is “no,” The interaction of plant fruiting and the fleahopper make it such that treatments should be made as fleahopper numbers begin to exceed 10 per 100 plants and approach 15 per100 plants—especially by the second week of squaring.

There are signs, at least in the Corpus Christi area, that fleahopper buildup in cotton may not be as high and will probably be delayed compared to 2010.

Unlike the case with early season aphids and spider mites, the fleahopper is more often a real yield reducer and should be addressed by chemical control where appropriate through the first week of bloom. Results from a field study last season show that although we could not demonstrate a statistical increase in yield (probably caused by variation due to a spindle picker problem) it seems obvious to me that the increased yield was a result of fleahopper control.