Cotton, Gossypium hirsutum L., bolls from 17 field locations in northeastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia, having 20% or greater internal boll damage, were studied to determine the relationship between external feeding symptoms and internal damage caused by stink bug (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) feeding. In 2006 and 2007, two cohorts of 100 bolls each were sampled at all field locations. The first cohort was removed as bolls reached approximately quarter size in diameter (2.4 cm). External and internal symptoms of stink bug feeding were assessed and tabulated. Concurrent to when the first cohort was collected, a second cohort of quarter-size-diameter bolls was identified, tagged, examined in situ for external feeding symptoms (sunken lesions), and harvested at the black seed coat stage. Harvested bolls were assessed for internal damage and locks were categorized (undamaged, minor damage, or major damage), dried, and ginned. Lint samples from each damage category were submitted for high volume instrument and advanced fiber information system quality analyses. Significant, moderately strong Pearson correlation coefficients existed between number of external stink bug feeding lesions and internal damage. Pearson correlation of total external lesions with total internal damage was stronger than any correlation among the other single components compared. Predictability plots indicated a rapid increase in relationship strength when relating external stink bug lesions to internal damage as the number of external lesions increased. Approximately 90% predictability of internal damage was achieved with four (2006) or six (2007) external lesions per boll. Gin-turnout and fiber quality decreased with increasing intensity of internal stink bug damage.
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Vol. 103 • No. 6