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Cotton Seed Bug … Hopefully gone for good

September 13, 2012

Ah, the feel of cotton. This week we are out protecting it. Not just the feel, but the plant itself. Our inspectors (part of the Cooperative Agriculture Pest Survey Program) are out looking for a pesky critter called the cotton seed bug. The cotton seed bug damages the seed, can stain the cotton lint (that is what fabric is made from) and can let off a foul smell. This invasive pest was discovered a couple years ago on cotton plants growing on an island in the Florida Keys. Since then the division and our partners have worked to get rid of the cotton seed bug from that area. If the survey finds no new bugs, we can call it eradicated. It would be great to cross another invasive pest off the list.

Florida produced 149,000 bales of cotton in 2010 and has a native cotton species called wild or upland cotton that is on the endangered plant list.

If you are thinking about growing cotton, here are some tidbits to know about cotton in Florida. You cannot collect wild cotton without a permit because it is protected. Second, you cannot plant any kind of cotton without a permit. This is to protect the industry from a cotton pest we battled and beat years ago called the boll weevil.

Check out our flickr album for photos of the cotton seed bug.

Want to learn more about the Cooperative Agriculture Pest Survey? Check out their website.

Think you have seen a plant pest? Please let us know- 1-888-397-1517

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