Another problem, which isn’t always as certain as weeds or leaf spot, is the presence of insect pests. While some foliage feeding worms are always likely, who knew that digging those first peanut fields in 2010 would uncover a huge burrower bug infestation? Despite this surprising outbreak, the techniques for insect management continue to rely on scouting for problems and knowing the thresholds for treatment.
Adopt an intensive scouting program from the beginning of the season. 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 begin 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.
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.
For better coverage with insecticides, go slow, stay on the target longer and make sure the sprayer is accurately calibrated.