Plants in these fleahopper-infected plots are compared to those not seeded with fleahoppers (naturally-occurring insect populations) and to plants chemically treated for fleahopper damage.
"2006 was not a good year for our study. It was very hot and dry," Parajulee said. "Even so, we learned that cotton plants can compensate for fleahopper damage. These plants incurred up to 25 percent fruit loss from as many as three fleahoppers per plant and still produced almost 800 pounds of lint per acre.
"Their yield compared favorably to plants treated for fleahoppers, and untreated plants left to naturally-occurring insect populations."
Parajulee hopes 2007 data from this study will help generate a fruit (square) loss treatement threshold. By 2008, the scientists hope to add specific chemical control tips to their arsenal of fleahopper knowledge.
Parajulee is also contributing to another study designed to survey fleahopper biology, behavior and movement statewide, and generate management recommendations for cotton producers.
That study began in 2007 and is led by Dr. Chris Sansone, Texas Cooperative Extension entomologist at San Angelo. Other contributors are Dr. Raul Medina, Experiment Station research entomologist at College Station; Dr. Charles Suh, U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service entomologist at College Station; John Westbrook, USDA Agricultural Research Service meteorologist at College Station; several Extension integrated pest management agents, and Apurba Barman, an entomology doctoral student at Texas A&M University.
"For many years, we entomologists have worked under the assumption that fleahoppers build up in wild host plants and then move into cotton prior to squaring," Parajulee said. "In the eastern part of Texas, fleahopper migration into cotton from wild host plants is pretty constant. Producers there can spray two to four times a season to control them.
"In the Rolling Plains, lack of r
|Contact: Tim W. McAlavy|
Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications