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Plant growth stage-specific injury and economic injury level for verde plant bug, Creontiades signatus (Hemiptera: Miridae), on cotton: Effect of bloom period of infestation

Michael J. Brewer, Darwin J. Anderson, J. Scott Armstrong
Journal of economic entomology 2013 v.106 no.5 pp. 2077-2083
Creontiades, insects, plant growth, lint cotton, decline, Pentatomidae, economic threshold, water stress, seed yield, bolls, cages, Texas
The verde plant bug, Creontiades signatus Distant (Hemiptera: Miridae), has emerged as a threat to cotton in South Texas, causing boll damage similar to boll-feeding stink bugs (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae). Verde plant bugs were released into caged cotton for a one-week period to characterize the effects of insect density and bloom period of infestation on cotton damage and yield. When plants were infested during early bloom, a linear decline in fruit retention and boll load, and a linear increase in boll damage and associated cotton boll rot, were detected as verde plant bug infestations increased from an average infestation of 0.5 to 4 bugs per plant. Harvested lint and seed yield per plant showed a corresponding decline. Fruit retention, boll load, and yield were not affected on plants infested at peak bloom, even though boll damage and cotton boll rot increased at this later infestation period. Incidence of cotton boll rot, which has an association with verde plant bug feeding, was low to modest (<1% to 12% of bolls with disease symptoms), as moderate to severe drought stress persisted throughout the study. Cage effects were minimal: a 10% fruit retention decline was associated with caging, and the effect was not detectable in the other measurements. Overall, reduced fruit retention caused by verde plant bug was an important contributor to yield decline, and damage potential was greatest during the early bloom period of infestation. A simple linear response best described the yield response-insect density relationship when infestation occurred at early bloom. These results can be used for establishing a plant-stage sensitive economic injury level, with the caveat that yield loss potential will likely need to be adjusted upward under conditions favorable to disease being a larger component of damage.