Foliage Feeders have been scattered throughout our peanut crop for a few weeks now but not every field has reached a treatment threshold. The picture above is of a soybean looper chewing on a peanut leaf in a field I visited this morning.
Here is another picture showing the larvae that I collected from 3 feet of row in the same field:
The treatment threshold for foliage feeders in peanuts is 4-8 larvae per foot of row. In this field, I found 1.6 larvae per foot of row so treatment is not yet needed.
Many growers may want to treat for foliage feeders in peanuts before they should. It’s difficult to not spray for these insects when you are seeing ragged, chewed leaves across the field. Peanuts can tolerate a substantial amount of defoliation without suffering yield loss. I have also noticed the foliage feeder populations to be very variable across the county, so growers are encouraged to scout each peanut field for foliage feeders and make spray decisions on a field-by-field basis using the threshold above.
Here are some recent comments from Dr. Mark Abney, UGA Peanut Entomologist, about peanut foliage feeders across the state:
There is quite a variety of caterpillars in our fields right now. I have seen a lot of loopers and good numbers of velvet bean caterpillars in several fields. Mixed in with them are corn earworm, cutworms, redneck peanut worm, and armyworms. We encourage growers to use the thresholds that exist for foliage feeding caterpillars and not spray fields just because the neighbors are spraying.
If you have any questions about foliage feeders in your peanuts, contact your local county agent for more information