Sticky Cotton Prevention – Late Season Insect and Defoliation Management


Preventing sticky cotton is crucial in producing quality cotton. Late-season populations of cotton aphid and Silverleaf whitefly can produce significant amounts of honeydew when populations build. These pests are of most concern from mid-boll filling through harvest, when insect populations build and threaten exposed lint. Pest management guidelines for cotton aphid and silverleaf whitefly focus on strategies to use once threshold pest populations are reached, with the approach varying with the composition of the developing population (nymphs, adults), crop growth stage, and with the presence of exposed lint. Current pest management guidelines for whitefly and aphid can be interpreted as meaning defoliation is the final event of the season. This is based on the assumption…


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Vern J. Elliott USDA-ARS
Shafter Research and Extension Center
17053 N. Shafter Ave. Shafter, CA 93263
(661) 746-8003
Fax (661) 746-1619


Sticky cotton, the contamination o f cotton lint by insect honeydew, is a serious problem that makes it difficult for the textile industry to process the cotton fiber. This stickiness reduces the price paid to the grower and damages the quality reputation of entire production areas. Although insect management is playing the major role in reducing or preventing sticky cotton, remedial measures to reduce the stickiness of contaminated lint are still needed. Bioremediation, the use of microorganisms to degrade the contaminating sugars, may offer an economical and effective way to reduce the stickiness of lint.

Objectives of the current USDA ARS project are to examine the ability o f different strains o f yeast to utilize the sugars in insect honeydew, to select strains…

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