The study was conducted in the northern Texas Rolling Plains in 1999 to define the relationship between number of cotton aphids, Aphis gossypii Glover, and resulting contamination of cotton lint by honeydew. Whole-plot treatments were three furrow irrigation management treatments: cotton grown without supplemental irrigation (dryland), irrigated cotton with last irrigation in mid August, and irrigated cotton with last irrigation in late August. Subplots within each irrigation treatment included an untreated check, a plot treated with lambda-cyhalothrin to stimulate aphid population increase, a plot treated with lambda-cyhalothrin followed by pymetrozine after aphids began to increase, and a plot treated with lambda-cyhalothrin followed by thiamethoxam after aphids began to increase. Cotton aphids were counted on leaves picked from the top and bottom half of the plant. Cotton lint was analyzed for contamination by glucose, fructose, sucrose, and melezitose secreted by cotton aphids, and percentage leaf moisture and nitrogen and leaf sucrose concentrations were determined. The manual sticky cotton thermodetector was used to determine degree of lint stickinesss. There was a significant relationship between thermodetector counts and melezitose contamination on lint, and a melezitose concentration of 90.9 μg/g of lint was associated with a thermodetector count of 10, the threshold for sticky lint problems in textile mills. An equation was developed to estimate melezitose concentration on lint as a function of average numbers of aphids per leaf and the interaction between percentage leaf moisture and nitrogen. The number of aphids per leaf associated with a melezitose concentration of 90.9 μg/g of lint ranged from 11.1 to 50.1, depending on percentage leaf moisture and nitrogen. The threshold for sticky lint problems occurred when aphid numbers ranged between 11.1 and 50.1 per leaf after bolls open.
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Vol. 95 • No. 2