In 2019, a cotton seed bug was found and identified in Los Angeles, California. At the time it was a single find, and no other specimens were found in the vicinity. Unfortunately, in 2020 the cotton seed bug was found and identified in five more locations across three counties, including Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties. While the locations remain more than 100 miles from the nearest cotton fields, we are concerned with the potential spread of this devastating pest to cotton fields in California.
This pest, as the name suggests, attacks the cotton seed, but damages the lint on its way into the seed. More importantly, if this pest were to be found in cotton it could end the shipment of cotton planting seed out of California as more than likely a quarantine area would be established. We are currently working with USDA and CDFA to find a way to trap the pest and possibly keep this pest in the LA Basin, maybe even eradicate it. In the meantime, we are asking growers and PCAs to be on the lookout for this pest. Attached is a technical bulletin that describes the pest in detail and includes pictures of the pest in various life cycles. Should you see one of these bugs, please contact your local county ag commissioner or the local CDFA Field office. It is imperative that we stay ahead of this devastating invasive pest.