Friday, July 11, 2008

Tobacco Budworms Attacking Peanut Blooms

The budworm moth flight is currently heavy in the southwestern peanut production area. Larval populations are being reported at 6 to 8 per foot of row in some fields. They may be higher in other fields. It has been confirmed that there is heavy feeding on blooms by small worms and the absence of blooms where large larvae are present. It is critical that farmers and scouts check all fields for this behavior regardless of the lack of foliage loss as often observed through the open window of a truck. In fact, low amounts of foliage loss have been reported in fields with heavy bloom loss. This means the larger worms are eating the flower buds before they open. For other areas of the peanut belt the moth flight should follow soon so this should give ample time to confirm this budworm feeding behavior.

Steward and Tracer gives good to excellent control of budworms. Lannate gives good to excellent quick-kill control with short residual but, Lannate can be harsh on beneficials. Orthene gives fair to good control but, there is the potential for flaring mites. I have been informed that there should be an adequate supply of these insecticides warehoused in SW GA. NOTE: The pyrethroids are NOT appropriate insecticides for controlling tobacco budworms.

To avoid any confusion as we move through this moth flight, it would be wise to confirm the presence of budworms vs. corn earworms in a representative number of fields. Through time we may shift to an earworm moth flight. This would allow us to use some less expensive insecticides, such as the pyrethroids, when and if this occurs.

There are other worms in the mix. Some beet and fall armyworms are present in some fields. Even though no cutworms have been reported, they will be found in some fields. The tobacco budworm should be the main target in most cases.

If you need help ID'ing these pest, give us a call at 229.225.4130.

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