Be ready as conditions in 2014 may favor the return of foliage feeders.
As the saying goes, the only certainties in life are death and taxes. However, you can probably add to that at least some level of pressure from worms in your peanut field at some point during the season. Will the hungry Lepidopterans, armyworms, bollworms/earworms, budworms, cutworms and others, build up enough to reach an economic threshold is always a consideration, but when they do, yield can be quickly eaten up. To avoid losses, be prepared to control worm pests before the buildup happens.
Watch The Weather
Insect pests are driven by weather patterns, and conditions in 2013 did not favor an outbreak of caterpillar pests, which thrive under hot temperatures and dry soil conditions. If 2014 turns off dry at some point in late-June and July, look for these pests to rebound in fields, especially lesser cornstalk borer (LCB). The LCB’s prime activity period generally begins in June and continues through the summer months. It will feed above and below the soil line and can kill newly emerged seedlings, destroy pegs and developing pods, damage plant crowns and weaken plants that survive. Wilting is one of the earliest signs of LCB infestation. Withered buds, stunting and plant deformities are also common.
Watch Your Fields
Field scouting, along with proper timing of treatment applications, such as Belt insecticide, is key to managing LCB and all insect pests. When applied at early stages of pest infections, Belt insecticide provides long-lasting worm control of all worm pests, even resistant populations and late-stage larvae. Scouting for both soil insects and foliage feeders and knowing what to look for given the weather pattern is the best way to find insect pests. Once found, prevent these pests from reaching a potentially devastating level by using an insecticide that is rainfast and provides residual control while not flaring spider mites or being harmful for beneficials.
Information in this article was contributed by Rhea + Kaiser.