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Integrated Pest Management in Cotton


Integrated Pest Management

Successful, economical control of cotton insect pests requires using a variety of control methods instead of only one, such as scheduled insecticide use. This approach to insect control is called integrated pest management, or IPM. Current cotton insect control recommendations are based on the IPM concept. Insecticides are a key part of cotton IPM, but relying only on insecticides is not possible in Mississippi. The objective of cotton IPM is to use all available, practical, nonchemical methods of suppressing insect populations; to monitor pest populations closely; and, when scouting indicates that pest populations have exceeded economic thresholds, to integrate insecticides in a way that optimizes crop production and minimizes ecosystem disruption. Because of the number of insect pests that attack cotton and the relatively high unit value of the crop, cotton IPM is quite complex. Management tactics applied against one pest may be favorable or unfavorable to the development of other pests in the system. Also, treatments applied during one part of the season may affect future pest populations or your ability to control those pests at later points during the season or in the following years. An overall cotton IPM program must consider these types of longterm effects. They greatly influence the ability of Mississippi growers to maintain economical cotton production. There are many aspects of IPM that must be used to manage cotton insect pests effectively. These include using resistant varieties, managing for early crop maturity, using various cultural practices, managing for insecticide resistance, using economic thresholds, scouting thoroughly, and applying insecticides in a timely manner when needed.


To produce an early high-yielding crop, follow recommended practices for soil preparation, variety selection, planting dates, use of fungicides and herbicides, and protection from insect and mite damage.

To minimize the impact of pests and pest control costs,

  1. Scout fields regularly. Make careful counts of insect pest populations.
  2. Use all available, practical noninsecticidal IPM tools.
  3. Apply insecticides promptly when needed.
  4. Use the most cost-efficient insecticide recommended for the target pest. Apply insecticide during the most susceptible stage of development.
  5. Follow recommended guidelines for practicing insecticide-resistance management.

Before deciding to treat and before choosing the insecticide, consider such factors as the potential to intensify secondary pest problems and insecticide resistance.


Information in this guide is provided for educational and planning purposes only. When using agricultural chemicals, you (the user) are responsible for making sure the intended use complies with current regulations and conforms to the product label. Before applying any insecticide, be sure to get current usage information. Read and follow the product label.


Before using a pesticide, read the label carefully. Follow the directions. Pay attention to all precautions on the pesticide container label. Observe all regulations on worker protection and pesticide record-keeping. Store pesticides in plainly labeled containers safely away from livestock, pets, and children. Store pesticides in an area where they will not contaminate food or feed.

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Please note that this is the opinion of the author and is Not Certified by ICAR or any of its authorised agents.