The following update was prepared by Clemson Peanut Specialist Dan Anco.
A producer recently found corn earworm larvae in a 30 day old peanut field. This is a little more than a month earlier than when we typically see them. Populations were still low, and if we get the rain that’s forecasted for the later part of this week and weekend it will both help peanuts recover from any remaining paraquat injury and produce more canopy, as well as help keep insect pest populations down. The general threshold we have for stressed peanuts that have not yet lapped the middle is 4 worms per row ft. This is the general guideline, and each situation and the condition of the peanuts can be a little different. The best way to know how your peanuts are doing, what pests might be in them and what if anything needs to be done, is to scout them.
If scouting reveals a developing worm population that requires action, this is a good time to also remember not to jump the gun with using pyrethroids. Pyrethroids can flare spider mites populations, and they are difficult to manage with currently labeled products once they get going. On rain fed fields we don’t have the luxury of scheduling rain, and so everything we can do to avoid secondary problems (like avoiding pyrethroid use, particularly early in the season) is worth keeping on the radar.