This is about the time of the year where we are going to see foliage feeding caterpillar populations increase in peanut fields. Peanuts that are 70 to 90 days after planting are most likely to be at the greatest risk for yield loss from defoliation, and drought stressed fields are at an even greater risk, although that doesn’t seem to be a widespread problem this year here in Tattnall County.
For foliage feeding caterpillars, our treatment threshold is 4-8 caterpillars per row foot. However, it is critical to identify which type of caterpillars are in your field in order to decide which chemical you will use for control. Velvetbean caterpillars are identified by their 4 abdominal prolegs, and they can be controlled with products like Vantacor, Dimilin, Intrepid, and pyrethroids. This caterpillar is the only one we see in peanuts that will be controlled with pyrethroids. Use caution when applying pyrethroids in dry land peanuts, as the product can cause a secondary infestation of spider mites if extremely dry conditions ensue.
Green cloverworms are another caterpillar we will see, and they can be distinguished by their 3 abdominal prolegs. Products like Intrepid, Diamond, Radiant, and Blackhawk should be used to control this caterpillar. Loopers have 2 abdominal prolegs and will only be controlled with products like Vantacor, Intrepid, Steward, Diamond, Radiant, and Blackhawk.
Fall army worms can be identified as they tend to be black/brown/and gray compared to the previously mentioned caterpillars, which will be shades of green in color. The products that will control this caterpillar are Vantacor, Dimilin, Steward, Lannate, Intrepid, Diamond, Radiant, and Blackhawk.
Beet armyworms can be identified by two prominent black dots on the side of their head, and are controlled with products like Vantacor, Dimilin, Steward, Intrepid, Diamond, Radiant, and Blackhawk.
If you have any questions or need help identifying what type of foliage feeding caterpillars are in your peanuts, feel free to reach out to Aubrey Shirley at (912) 314-3698 or me at (912) 253-3515.