Foliage Feeding Caterpillars In Peanuts

We’ve been treating for worms in peanuts now. I’m seeing some loopers mostly. But there are reports of tobacco budworm, and I do see some TBW moths flying. We need to be scouting when we are in the field. The biggest question is our threshold.

Egg mass from armyworms (left); and ‘windowpane’ feeding (right)

Threshold

For foliage feeding caterpillars, our threshold is 4 – 8 per row foot. Remember, peanuts can tolerate a significant amount of defoliation with no impact on yield, but when we start to see ragged leaves, it becomes difficult to hold back. Our peanuts look really good thanks to timely rainfall. When peanuts are not stressed, we can go closer to 8 on the threshold.

Caterpillars feeding on blooms?

This was in issue a few years ago where UGA Extension Entomologist Dr. Mark Abney had this to say:

Bloom feeding has been observed in peanut for a number of years, and current thresholds do not take this type of damage into account. Peanut produces a lot of blooms, and not all of them will result in harvestable pods even in perfect conditions. The impact of caterpillar feeding on blooms is not known. I think it is reasonable to be more aggressive in making treatment decisions when significant bloom feeding is observed. What is “significant bloom feeding”?  That is a question that will have to be answered on a case by case basis taking into account the condition of the field, number of caterpillars, maturity of the crop, and personal experience

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