The verde plant bug, Creontiades signatus (Distant), has been present in south Texas for several years but has more recently been documented as an economic threat to cultivated cotton, Gossypium hirsutum L. Our studies over 2 yr (2009 and 2010) and two locations (Weslaco and Corpus Christi, TX) investigated feeding-injury of the verde plant bug to a range of cotton boll age classes defined by boll diameter and accumulated degree-days (anthesis to the time of infesting) for first-position cotton bolls infested with the plant bugs. The most detrimental damage to younger cotton bolls from verde plant bug feeding was boll abscission. Cotton bolls <04 accumulating daily degree-days (ACDD), or a boll diameter of 1.3 cm were subject to 60–70% higher boll abscission when compared with the noninfested controls. Significantly higher boll abscission occurred from verde plant bug injured bolls compared with the controls up to 162 ACDD or a mean boll diameter 2.0 cm. Cotton seed weights were significantly reduced up to 179 ACDD or a boll diameter of 2.0 cm at Weslaco in 2009, and up to 317 ACDD or boll diameter 2.6 cm for Weslaco in 2010 when compared with the noninfested controls. Lint weight per cotton boll for infested and noninfested bolls was significantly reduced up to 262 ACDD or boll diameter 2.5 for Corpus Christi in 2010 and up to 288 ACCD or boll diameter 2.6 cm for Weslaco, TX, in 2010. Damage ratings (dependant variable) regressed against infested and noninfested seed-cotton weights showed that in every instance, the infested cotton bolls had a strong and significant relationship with damage ratings for all age classes of bolls. Damage ratings for the infested cotton bolls that did not abscise by harvest showed visual signs of verde plant bug feeding injury and the subsequent development of boll rot; however, these two forms of injury causing lint and seed mass loss are hard to differentiate from open or boll-locked cotton bolls. Based on the results of both lint and seed loss over 2 yr and four studies cotton bolls should be protected up to ≈300 ACDD or a boll diameter of 2.5 cm. This equilibrates to bolls that are 12–14 d of age dependent upon daily maximum and minimum temperatures.
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