Your Insect Management Program
Misidentifying a pest can be a costly mistake. Not only will you spend money on an insecticide application that renders no control, but also the pest will continue to eat away at your crop and profit potential.
Although correctly identifying an insect problem may sound simple enough, it is not. For example, producers in the last couple of years have applied a pyrethroid for a corn earworm infestation only to find out the problem was tobacco budworms. Pyrethroids are not effective against budworms, and the budworm, to the naked eye, looks identical to the corn earworm. Adding to the easily made mistake is the fact that budworms had never been an economic issue in peanuts before.
Foliage Feeders First
Adopting an intensive scouting program from the beginning of the season is the best approach to insect management. Scouts should be well-trained and should stay in regular contact with growers.
In the early season, focus on foliage feeding worms like cutworms, corn earworms and budworms. Thresholds of four or more worms per row foot is still an acceptable treatment level, but also take into consideration the size and amount of damage being caused.
Late June is the time to evaluate the potential for leafhopper and three-cornered alfalfa hoppers. Look for adults and nymphs of these two sucking insects and treat based on Extension recommendations. Continue to focus on these insects and evidence of their damage during July and early August. Treatment should not be necessary in the last month before digging peanuts.
Peg And Pod Feeders At Mid-Season
Mid-season is the time to look for soil insects, which feed on pegs and developing pods. Lesser cornstalk borers, wireworms, southern corn rootworms and burrower bugs can cause considerable yield loss, reduce quality and predispose the plants to some diseases. Unfortunately, there is often little to no control of soil insects.
Scouting involves pulling up peanut plants and examining them for damage from any of these insect pests. Also, sift through the soil where the plants came from and look for the insects themselves. For better coverage with insecticides, go slow, stay on the target longer and make sure the sprayer is accurately calibrated.
Scouting Is The Key
By scouting regularly, following treatment thresholds and improving insecticide application coverage, growers can minimize outbreaks of these difficult and expensive to control pests.