Lygus hesperus Knight in the Texas High Plains: Cotton compensation after fruit damage and host plant selection with implications for cotton IPM



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Texas High Plains is known for its extensive cotton cultivation in the world. Considering the importance of Lygus bug as one of the insect pests of cotton in adjoining states like Mississippi, Arkansas, Arizona and California, research effort was undertaken to generate information on behavioral and insect-host interactions. Compensation ability of cotton was evaluated under the prevailing regional growing conditions. Fruit loss due to augmentative release of Lygus bug at two levels (1 and 3 bugs/plant) was higher than control treatments. Partial yield compensation was observed when bugs were released in early-bloom stage of the crop. Besides, attractiveness of different non-cotton hosts to Lygus bug was demonstrated which may have implications in cultural control. Russian thistle and alfalfa was found be more attractive than pigweed, sunflower and Palmer amaranth. Cotton was not preferred at any of its growth stages when other hosts were present in vicinity.