We’ve had spider mites come through in the northwest part of the county. This is usually the hardest hit part of the county, which corresponds to dry weather conditions. These fields have been sprayed, but you can see how much damage has been left behind. With harvest in mind, we’ve been answering lots of questions related to disease. We still need to be mindful of spider mites. Below is information from UGA Extension Peanut Entomologist Dr. Mark Abney:
“Peanuts with two or more weeks to go before digging are still at risk of losing yield to a late infestation of mites. We really need to be watching our non-irrigated peanuts and the dry corners of our irrigated fields for the initial signs of mite infestation. Mite “hotspots” will show up first as yellow circles in the field. These spots will then turn brown, and the yellowing will spread out from the source as the mites migrate to new plants.
Because mite populations can explode rapidly, damage can go from barely noticeable to severe in only a few days. No one wants to make another pest spray this late in the season, but we cannot afford to let fields with good potential get defoliated with three weeks to go before harvest. Management decisions will need to be made on a field by field basis taking into account profit potential, mite densities, and time to digging. Keep in mind that catching mites early is important for good control, but spotting signs of infestations is complicated when plants are suffering from drought stress.”
In photo below, the brown and yellow coloration in the top of the rows is due to spider mite feeding.