In spite of the consistent rainfall that much of Georgia’s peanut growing region received from mid-May through early June, I have received several reports of fields at threshold for lesser cornstalk borer (LCB). This insect does not generally thrive under conditions of high soil moisture, but this is a good reminder that very little is certain when it comes to insects. I suspect the very dry weather we experienced in early May coupled with an abundance of volunteer peanuts resulted in an early buildup of LCB populations that were able to make it through the subsequent rain. What happens next will depend largely on the weather. I would not expect LCB to be a problem in fields after the canopy closes if there is adequate rainfall or irrigation. We should be looking for LCB especially in fields where vines have not lapped the row middles and any fields where drought stress becomes evident regardless of canopy closure.
An experienced county agent made the observation last week that this would be a year in which we will find lesser cornstalk borer and southern corn rootworm in the same field, and I will not be at all surprised if this prediction comes true. The recent wet weather was perfect for rootworm development. At this point, all we can do is scout and try to make smart decisions.
There have been a couple reports of scattered tobacco budworm infestations in peanut over the past couple weeks. I am not sure if any fields have been treated, but remember that small plants (especially if they are stressed) can be defoliated quickly.
Not too many folk will be thinking about thrips on peanut right now, but tomato spotted wilt symptoms are beginning to show up in fields. It will be a while before we know how severe the disease will be this year, but if you observe infection rates above 20% in a peanut field, please contact your local county Extension agent. Thrips dispersal as measured by trap captures was low last week across the sampling area, but it did increase slightly over the previous week. While we do not expect serious, widespread thrips injury on late plant peanut emerging in mid-June, local populations can vary significantly, and individual fields could still be affected by thrips.
These data are being provided for informational purposes only and may not be representative of thrips dispersal at your location. Peanut fields should be scouted regularly to quantify actual thrips populations.
If you have questions about insect management in peanut please contact your local county Extension agent.