Early season insects and pests can be problematic in all types of environments. It's imperative for cotton to be scouted often and comprehensively. Inadequate scouting can lead to increased populations as well as decreased yield potential at the end of the year. The three key insects to look for early in the season are thrips, aphids and, as cotton starts to square, cotton fleahoppers. Thrips feed on the underside of the leaves and can become a problem from emergence up to the fourth leaf stage. If left unaddressed, it can lead to curling leaves and delayed maturity.