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We have gotten off to a good start with peanut planting this season.  As peanut plants are emerging and growing, producers should scout and monitor fields for early season insects.  The main ones to be looking for are thrips, tobacco budworm (TBW), and possibly lesser cornstalk borer (LCB).

Many of the thrips control decisions are made at planting.

Thrips injury (left row) and control (right row) – Steve L. Brown, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

UGA Peanut Entomologist, Dr. Mark Abney said, “Adult thrips were present on seedling peanuts in UGA research plots within 24 hours of emergence from the soil on 2 May. Plots with no insecticide treatment had high numbers of adult thrips on 7 May (13 days after planting). While thrips injury was not readily apparent at 13 days after planting, it will become obvious over the next two weeks as eggs hatch and immature thrips begin to feed. I encourage growers to check fields for thrips activity at 10 to 14 days after planting especially if no at-plant insecticide was applied. Acephate (Orthene) will be the choice of most growers if a foliar application is needed. Remember that Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus (TSWV) is transmitted by thrips, and peanut planted prior to 10 May are at increased risk of acquiring the disease.”


Tobacco Budworm Moth – Steve L. Brown, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

Early season tobacco budworm infestations have been relatively rare the last five years, but there is a history of this pest causing significant damage to seedling peanut in Georgia. It does not take long for budworm caterpillars to defoliate plants that are only a few inches tall. Scouting is the only way to know what is happening in the field. If budworms are present early, growers need to make good insecticide decisions.

Lesser Cornstalk Borer larva

Lesser cornstalk borers (LCBs) can be a sporadic pest, but they thrive in hot, dry conditions. Hopefully,this season we will see regular rainfall events to lessen these conditions. LCBs cause damage to limbs and stems, and also damage pegs and pods as the peanuts develop.

Lesser Cornstalk Borer Moth – Steve L. Brown, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

Scout School – The upcoming Peanut, Cotton, Soybean Scout School is scheduled for June 10 at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center.

If you have questions, or need assistance with insect management in peanuts, give us a call at the Worth County Extension Office at 229-776-8216.

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