Creontiades signatus (Distant)
Description. The Creontiades plant bug was confirmed as a damaging pest of cotton in 1998. This pest is closely associated with the coast regions of Texas and is typically only found in high numbers within 50 miles of the Gulf Coast. Adult Creontiades are about ½ inch long and less than ¼ inch wide. They have antennae as long, or longer, than their body. The body color is pale green with a reddish band on the upper portion of their back. The adults will readily fly between fields and wild hosts. In cotton they prefer to lay eggs on the mid-portion of the plant on leaf petioles, stems and fruit.
The nymphs are similar in appearance to cotton fleahopper nymphs being light green and having red eyes. They are larger than cotton fleahoppers with the 3rd instars being about ¼ inch long. Young nymphs of Creontiades have a red stippling on the antennae, but this usually is not observed after the 3rd instar.
Currently, there is almost no information concerning the life cycle of this particular pest, but assuming it’s similar to other Creontiades species, eggs should hatch in 5-10 days after being laid. It will pass through 5 nymphal instars before molting to an adult; each nymphal instar will last 2-3 days. Adults can live for 3-4 weeks.
Damage. Creontiades can be found feeding on squares and small bolls. They feed by inserting their mouthparts into the plant tissue and sucking. Feeding can cause squares and small bolls to be shed from the plant. Evidence of feeding on bolls is similar to that of stink bugs. A callous growth, or wart, is often found on the inside of the carpal wall where insect feeding occured. In addition, feeding may cause discoloration in the seed or surrounding tissue.
Management and decision making.
Cultural management. Although not fully understood, early research suggests that Creontiades plant bugs prefer to lay eggs in normal leaf cotton relative to okra leaf varieties.
Biological control. Although natural enemies are not recognized as contributing greatly to Creontiades control in cotton, they undoubtedly have some impact, especially in natural habitats. Creontiades should be attacked by a number of general predators such as damsel bugs, big-eyed bugs and spiders.
Scouting. Sampling for Creontiades should be conducted from squaring until the last effective bolls are more than 20 days old or 450 HU after cutout. The drop cloth is recommended but sweep net and visual assessment may also be used. The highest risk period is from first flower until 60% of bolls are 20 days old. In addition to sampling for the insects after bloom, sampling bolls for evidence of internal feeding is recommended. This should be done by collecting 100 bolls, 1-inch in diameter, from 4 places in the field, cutting them open and inspecting the inside carpal wall for wart growths or other evidence of feeding.
Chemical Control and Action Thresholds. The action threshold for Creontiades varies depending on the crop stage and sampling technique. These thresholds are still being evaluated for accuracy.
Field trials have not found insecticide tolerance in Creontiades populations. Thus, insecticides used for cotton fleahoppers should perform well on Creontiades.