Spider Mites Early in the Season Peanut Notes No. 77 2019

— Written By

Spider Mite Thoughts
Rick Brandenburg
Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology

I hope everyone received some much-needed rains this weekend. Due to the hot and dry conditions, there were concerns over spider mites getting a VERY early start this year. There are two things to consider relative to spider mites in June. My experience has been that the peanut plant is simply NOT a good host for spider mites prior to flowering. We have tried to get spider mites to feed and reproduce on small plants and we have never seen it happen. I assume there is something about the physiology of the young peanut plant that simply makes it a poor host at that stage. Once the plant flowers, then it seems mites can begin to do well on the plants. This has been my observations beginning back 40 years ago (dang I’m getting old). So I am not too concerned about mites yet.

That brings me to the second and perhaps most important point. Just because the peanuts are not a good host early, the same does not hold for corn, tomatoes, melons and all the wild hosts like henbit, pokeweed, etc. So this early hot and dry spell may well have set us up for a challenging summer for spider mites if we get another hot and dry spell. I think that last week pushed us forward into a higher risk situation and we are going to really need to stay on top of things if we get any hot and dry spells. Remember, we really don’t have much to work with anymore when it comes to spider mite control and Comite has become increasingly difficult to find. Let’s pray for rain and good temps.