Insect pests are a major limiting factor in producing cotton in South Carolina. Hundreds of species of insects may be found in a cotton field, but only about 20 of those species are capable of producing economically important damage. A cotton scout must be able to identify the damaging species of insects as well as the common beneficial arthropods. A good scouting program is still the first line of defense against insect pests in cotton. There are many valid techniques that may be used to assess the impact of insects in a field of cotton. The following information is intended to serve as a guide for use in monitoring and controlling infestations of pestiferous insects in cotton. Insecticide treatments should only be applied when numbers of pestiferous insects reach levels that correspond to the economic thresholds described here. Avoid treating infestations that are below thresholds because unnecessary disruptions to populations of beneficial species often result in plant injury by other insect pests.