Caterpillars in Peanuts Rick Brandenburg Peanut Notes No. 161 2019

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Caterpillars in peanuts

Rick Brandenburg

Extension Entomology Specialist

This is the time of year when we see caterpillars or “worms” in peanuts. In many cases there is good vine growth and the peanuts are not going to suffer from a little foliage feeding. I’d go with 8 worms per row foot as a minimum threshold, but given the crop and the cost of control there needs to be a lot of worms before I would treat. Despite the rains, the hot weather has kept us on the edge for spider mites.

There are plenty of budworms in the peanut worm population and we know the pyrethroids are not good at controlling them. We also are seeing a relatively high level of resistance in our earworm populations this summer. So with those two factors in mind and the constant threat from spider mites, the more expensive worm insecticides rather than the cheaper pyrethoids are probably the best option this year. I don’t see this scenario changing in the future.