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Plantwise Technical Factsheet

red cotton stainer (Dysdercus cingulatus)

Host plants / species affected
Abelmoschus esculentus (okra)
Abelmoschus moschatus (muskmallow)
Bombax ceiba (silk cotton tree)
Ceiba pentandra (kapok)
Corchorus (jutes)
Corchorus capsularis (white jute)
Gossypium (cotton)
Hibiscus (rosemallows)
Tectona grandis (teak)
Thespesia populnea (portia tree)
Zea mays (maize)
List of symptoms/signs
Inflorescence  -  fall or shedding
Seeds  -  external feeding
An early indication of attack by D. cingulatus is the feeding damage caused by adult and nyphs on the flower buds and seeds of cotton. Feeding of this and other species of Dysdercus on cotton bolls causes the boll to abort and shed (Pomeroy and Golding, 1923) (see Economic Impact).
Prevention and control

Cultural Control

Some cultural methods may reduce damage caused by D. cingulatus in cotton. One of the most effective methods is the removal and destruction of all standing cotton by a fixed date, as soon as the cotton has been picked and ceased to bear any profitable yield (Pomeroy and Golding, 1923). The elimination of trees, such as Bombax, and other wild malvaceous plants is also strongly recommended.

Chemical Control

Due to the variable regulations around (de-)registration of pesticides, we are for the moment not including any specific chemical control recommendations. For further information, we recommend you visit the following resources:

The boll is the only part of the cotton plant that is attacked by D. cingulatus (Pomeroy and Golding, 1923). When the bolls are ripening and the carpels opening, the bug inserts the rostrum between the carpels and sucks the juices from the soft and developed seeds, injuring the cotyledons and causing the seed to wither and the lint to be uniformly stained. In many cases the fibre does not mature and expand but remains adhered together causing the lint to become quite valueless.

Dysdercus species are thought to be the most serious pests of cotton (van Doesburg, 1968). In piercing the boll they introduce microorganisms which cause the bolls to rot, or the lint to become discolored, hence the common name 'cotton stainers'; this greatly reduces yields in cotton-growing countries.

Related treatment support
Plantwise Factsheets for Farmers
Matimelo, M.; CABI, 2014, English language
Ahmed, F.; Saleem, M. U.; Hussain, S. I.; CABI, 2013, English language
Pest Management Decision Guides
Musa, P.; CABI, 2015, English language
External factsheets
CICR Technical Bulletins, Central Institute for Cotton Research, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, India, 2015, English language
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