Peanut planting season is also thrips season in Georgia, and growers need to be prepared to manage this tiny but damaging insect pest. I checked some volunteer peanuts in a Tift county field today, and they were LOADED with adult tobacco thrips. Recent research at UGA confirmed that thrips feeding injury can cause yield loss in peanut, and many, if not most, peanut fields planted before mid-May will exceed the economic threshold. I recommend an in-furrow insecticide treatment at plant in peanut, and the options haven’t really changed since last year. Phorate (Thimet), imidacloprid (Admire and others), and aldicarb (AgLogic) are all available for use in the furrow in 2021.
If no at-plant insecticide is used, or if there is a problem with the at plant treatment and a foliar spray is needed, acephate (Orthene) will be the most common choice for thrips management. Remember that “cotton rates” for acephate will not give adequate control of thrips in peanut. It is also important not to be late with a foliar spray if no insecticide was applied at plant.
Please calibrate your application equipment before you start planting; I promise it is worth your time.
Tomato spotted wilt virus is transmitted exclusively by thrips. TSWV resistant cultivars and thrips management are the only way to reduce the risk of virus infection and loss. Growers should refer to Peanut Rx to assess the risk of various management tactics. Phorate (Thimet) is the only insecticide that reduces the risk of TSWV.