As I ride around South Georgia visiting research plots, I am seeing areas that have had good rainfall recently and some areas that are quickly getting dry. Insect pressure is variable around the state right now. We are getting some reports of potato leaf hopper and foliage feeding caterpillars. I visited a field this morning where there was a mix of foliage feeders including redneck peanut worm. When scouting fields, be sure to check the very young, folded leaflets for redneck peanut worm as it will not usually shake out in a beat sample.
Apprehension about lesser cornstalk borers still lingers. We have seen fields with populations of this pest and we are seeing moths right now. Moths are a good indication of active infestation, but I do not recommend treating a field based solely on the presence of moths. Some have asked about spraying an insecticide to kill moths, but this is not a practical approach. Fields should be scouted, and treatment decisions based on actual caterpillar pressure. Treating fields in 2015 just because we had a problem in 2014 is not a good strategy; we need to know what is happening in the field and react accordingly.
There will probably be a lot of interest in treating foliage feeding caterpillars in the next few weeks. We just need to remember that the threshold for caterpillars is 4 to 8 per row foot. It will be very tempting to treat populations that are not at threshold because the damage is easy to see.
PEANUT SCOUT HANDBOOK: Please note the link on this blog to the UGA Peanut Scout Handbook. We will be working to update this publication, but in the mean time, the old version is here for your use.
For answers to questions regarding insect management in peanut, please contact your local UGA County Extension Agent.