Aphids are rarely on seedling cotton, and this is because Neonic Seed Treatments are good on aphids. But in most years, UGA Extension Enotmologist, Dr. Phillip Roberts, says we will see them build to high numbers. So far there are no consistent yield response on aphid tests. There are very effective treatments however. The main thing we are looking for is the naturally occurring fungal epizootic that cause population to crash. It usually happens in later part of June or early July. We look for grey, fuzzy, aphid cadavers. Once we see these, Dr. Roberts says, the population will crash in next few days. Below is a picture of some aphids. The white bugs here are just cast skins of the aphids.
Michael Murray with Meherrin has also reported seeing snails seen on cotton plants. Here is one of a few we saw on a plant. Dr. Roberts says he has received a few calls about them this year also. Even though snails can sometimes be present in large numbers, they rarely cause economic injury. In contrast, many slugs will feed on cotton. They make odd-shaped holes, usually around the leaf margins. Severe feeding sometimes results in “cut plants,” similar to the damage caused by cutworms. One or two here and there is no problem at all, but 20 on a young plant – especially seedling – would be a concern. Here is some information on Slugs and Snails from UT Extension.