Early Season Thrips Management

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Planting time isn’t all the far away and after last year, there are some questions floating around about the best means to control thrips. The conservative answer is to rely on Thimet or phorate products. While we occasionally get a little phytotoxicity from this product especially in lighter, sandier soils, it has performed well for us for many years and is the safe approach for 2012. I’ve heard nothing about the availability, price or effectiveness of the Temik-like alternative that is supposed to be available, so if you have the chance to use it this year, buyer beware. We had a lot of reports of delayed emergence following the use of acephate last year. The manufacturer has not responded to any of the concerns from this past year, so once again, I think buyer beware are the best words of advice I can give. I do not know if the problem last year was associated with specific environmental conditions and the likelihood for it to happen this year is slim or if the likelihood of it happening is just as good as or greater than last year.

The warm winter will most likely impact thrips populations in peanuts this year but it is hard to tell exactly how this will play out. The conditions especially in March really favored winter weed growth and thrips populations. The problem in peanuts is all going to be based on planting dates and the condition of the winter weeds that they feed on. Warm, dry weather in late April and early May just might and I repeat might result in more thrips migration into peanuts and more problems with this pest. It is really hard to predict for sure, but I do feel confident that like most years, our earliest planted peanuts will be at greatest risk from thrips and from tomato spotted wilt virus. I wouldn’t be too worried about the mild winter and what it will do to thrips populations, but rather just use reliable thrips management approaches as you would any other year.

Article first appeared as North Carolina Peanut Note (PNNC-2012-011)