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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Insect Control and Cotton Disease Research

Title: Results of a Two-Year Pink Bollworm Survey in the Southern Plains of Texas and New Mexico

item Pierce, Jane
item Multer, Warren
item Doederlein, Tommy
item Anderson, Manda
item Russell, Scott
item Allen, Charles
item Zink, Rick
item Walters, Michelle
item Kerns, David
item Westbrook, John

Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/31/2012
Publication Date: 5/1/2012
Citation: Pierce, J., Multer, W., Doederlein, T., Anderson, M., Russell, S., Allen, C., Zink, R., Walters, M., Kerns, D., Westbrook, J.K. 2012. Results of a two-year pink bollworm survey in the southern plains of Texas and New Mexico. Proceedings of the Beltwide Cotton Conferences. p. 935-940.

Interpretive Summary: Pink bollworm (PBW) is one of the world’s most important cotton pests. Losses to PBW prior to the availability of Bt cotton and the initiation of an eradication program in the U.S. were estimated at $32 million per year. Completion of PBW eradication in the El Paso/Trans Pecos (EP/TP) zone in Texas is threatened by PBW migration from the southern plains of Texas and New Mexico -- areas that are not in eradication programs. The primary objectives of this project were to investigate the correlation of cropping practices on PBW presence in southern plains cotton fields and the patterns of PBW movement from infested fields. Ninety-seven percent of the captured PBW moths came from the two organic cotton fields within an 80-square-mile area. These two organic cotton fields almost certainly had reproducing PBW in them and appeared to be the epicenter of the PBW population in the area. Spatial patterns of moth capture and prevailing wind patterns strongly suggest PBW moths dispersed from the suspected source fields to fields where few PBW moths were captured. The results suggest reproducing populations of PBW are no longer widely spread throughout the region and may be limited to only about 100 acres of non-Bt organic cotton in southern Midland County, Texas. Eradication program managers and cotton producers can use these results in planning for efficient completion of PBW eradication in Texas.

Technical Abstract: Cotton producing areas in the Southern Plains Region of Texas and New Mexico were surveyed using delta sticky traps baited with gossyplure, the sex pheromone for pink bollworm (PBW). Non-cotton producing areas south of these areas were also surveyed for moths potentially moving into the El Paso/Trans Pecos Pink Bollworm Eradication zone. Cotton producing counties surveyed were, Chaves and Eddy Counties in New Mexico and Dawson, Gaines, Glasscock, Martin, Midland, Terry, Upton and Yoakum counties in Texas. The counties surveyed have experienced PBW infestations in the recent past and 1.3 million acres of cotton planted in them annually. No BW moths were caught in any of the areas surveyed except for a relatively small area in southern Midland County. Nine fields in this area caught PBW moths in summer trapping (May-August). A total of 119 moths were caught during this time. Seventy-two percent of the moths caught were caught on two fields of non-Bt, organic cotton. Fall trapping, September through early November detected PBW activity in the same area. Six fields caught a total of 728 PBW moths. The two non-Bt organic fields accounted for a total of 704 moths, 97% of the total fall capture. Since most of the fields in the region are planted to Bt cotton, it is likely that only two fields, less than 100 acres, had reproducing populations of pink bollworms in this region (1.3 million acres of cotton) in 2011.

Last Modified: 10/16/2017
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