I got reports of tobacco budworm and lesser cornstalk borer (LCB) infestations in peanut this week. Neither of these is unexpected, but they are good reminders that we need to be scouting fields and managing insects wisely.
Foliage feeding caterpillars and LCB can be found in peanut fields every year, but LCB will only be a serious problem later in the season when hot, dry conditions persist. Early season LCB infestations that occur before the plants have covered the row middles are easy to miss, can reduce yield, and can remain active in spite of rainfall and irrigation.
While LCB does not survive well in moist soil conditions, we generally can’t keep bare soil wet enough to eliminate an infestation. Once the row middles close, the game changes; at this point adequate moisture in the form of rain or irrigation will generally result in rapid declines in LCB numbers.
Managing LCB in early season peanut is important to prevent yield loss and to stop the pest population from increasing.