Peanuts Good to Caterpillars, too
Posted by romeethredge on July 24, 2014
Peanuts are good to us and they also are good to many things in nature. Caterpillars love to eat their leaves and blooms. There is a wide variety of caterpillars to be found in the fields now. Mostly Tobacco Budworms, Fall armyworms, Beet Armyworms, and Soybean Loopers. A few Granulate Cutworms and Rednecked Peanut worms also. I was surprised to see a few Velvetbean Caterpillars(VBC), it’s early in the season to see them. Many fields have had to be treated or will be treated this week for foliage feeding caterpillars.
It’s funny though, there will be a badly infested field and right down the road a field that doesn’t have a problem? So scouting is very important.
Here’s a VBC coming in early this year. They are big eaters, unfortunately. They wiggle around like crazy when touched.
Here is a Tobacco Budworm feeding on a peanut bloom this week. Fortunately the peanut plant produces an excess of blooms or we would be in big trouble with this, it is still bothersome and not a good thing.
You may notice that I didn’t mention Corn earworm in worms found in peanuts. There are probably some, but they look just like the closely related Tobacco Budworms. Most moths seen lately are budworm moths. Decatur county Agent Justin Ballew and I sampled several of these Heliothis caterpillars and did some dentistry to positively ID them and all we checked were Budworms (Heliothis virescens). They are often very tough to kill with pyrethroids so other chemistry is necessary, whereas their look-a-like the Corn Earworm (Heliothis zea) can be controlled more easily. Below see the ID chart provided by Dr. Phillip Roberts, UGA Extension entomologist.