“Once mites get into an explosive situation, it’s a numbers game,” he says. “If you kill 90 percent, you still have a problem. You need to get to them early enough that the numbers are fairly low. In those cases, they can be very spotty, on the margins of the field. Generally, we have not treated early enough to knock down the population before they become a problem.”

For most insect pests, peanut producers have good insecticides, and they have an adequate number of insecticides, says Adams.

“But in the case of mites, they’re expensive. And often, if you see a problem develop, it might just be a low-level population. It’s a judgment call on how much money you want to invest, not knowing if the populations will explode.”

Comite is the best product available for spider mites, but it’s expensive, slow-acting and it’ll burn foliage, he says.

Vegetable producers have three or four true miticides, says Adams, but they are not registered for use on peanuts. Danitol is registered for use on peanuts, but it has low-level activity, he adds.

There’s no new information this year on burrower bugs, he says. “We know drought conditions favor the intensity of burrower bugs, so irrigated peanuts will have a benefit over those that are not irrigated. We still know that conventional-tillage and deep turning are the most effective practices to avoid burrower bugs.”

Growers were encouraged 20 or 30 years ago to transition to strip-till production, he says. “Every time we change a practice, we influence something else. Pigweed is a prime example.

“Lorsban has an impact on burrower bugs, but we don’t know how effective it is depending on the population that’s present. In a low-level situation, it might prevent a load of Seg. 2 peanuts.

“But Lorsban is insoluble, and you can’t drive it down very deep into the ground, even with a lot of rain. The resurgence of other pests is also a problem with Lorsban, so you’re really getting more suppression than anything else.”

Through attrition, the University of Georgia has lost its research component in peanut insects, says Adams. “I can see the gap widening, and it’s getting wider as far as the information regarding insect pests, especially these emerging pests like burrower bugs.”

phollis@farmpress.com