If you grow peanuts, then you’ve heard a lot about burrower bugs in the past five to six years, says Abney. You can think of it as a stink bug that moves in the ground.

“It’s not exactly like our stink bugs that feed on cotton, but it’s pretty close. It has a piercing, sucking mouthpart, and it will suck the juice out of a peanut kernel. But it doesn’t take very much of that kind of damage to cost us a lot of money. When you get up to 2 ½ percent damaged kernels, you go from Seg. 1 to Seg. 2. In other words, you go from making money to not making money with three kernels out of 100, and that’s why this insect is so scary. It also increases the risk of aflatoxin,” he said.

Burrower bugs prefer dry conditions, so growers didn’t see many in 2013. “If you had irrigation, burrower bugs did not visit you, though I have talked with people who turned their land and had damage from this pest, so you can’t rule it out completely. This is a very sporadic insect. It’ll be in one field and not in another, and one county can have more than another. But it’s Public Enemy No. 1 for growers who have it," he said.

There currently are no monitoring procedures for burrower bugs and no thresholds. “Cultural controls are the best thing we have for now, including deep tillage and irrigation if you’ve got it. As for chemical controls, we’ve got Lorsban 15G, but the data shows it isn’t that effective on burrower bugs, and it won’t kill them all. We need more chemistry and we need to understand the insect pest better,” he said.

If you don’t scout, then you don’t know what’s in the field, he says. “If you have caterpillars but you’re unsure about the species, you could make a wrong decision when it’s time to make an insecticide application. We shouldn’t be spraying just because we can. If it’s drier in 2014, you might see insect pests that we didn’t see this past year.”