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Story in Brief

The peanut burrower bug (PBB) causes significant economic losses on an annual basis in Georgia. The insect became a serious pest in 2010, and there are few effective management tactics. Choices for reducing risk of PBB injury are deep tillage and/or applying the organophosphate insecticide chlorpyrifos. These practices are expensive, can negatively affect the environment, and have been used without an accurate method to assess actual risk of infestation or injury. The UGA Peanut Entomology Program and county agents in Emanuel and Brooks Counties collaborated on a multifaceted PBB research and Extension project focused on improving our understanding of the insect’s biology and reducing losses through better management. The Emanuel County Extension agent initiated a preliminary monitoring program using pit-fall traps in 2016. The program continued in 2017 and 2018. Extension agents monitored over 13,000 peanut acres in at least six counties in 2019 and 2020. Since its initiation in 2016, the success rate of the PBB monitoring program is greater than 90 percent. In 2020, more than 1,200 traps were deployed on over 8,000 acres, and there were no reductions in grade due to PBB in any of the monitored fields. Peanut burrower bug monitoring has been widely adopted. The results of the program have far exceeded expectations, and the savings to growers have been significant. Unnecessary insecticide applications have been avoided, and losses due to PBB injury have been reduced significantly. Over the previous two seasons, growers in the program treated 1,100 acres with granular chlorpyrifos in response to trapping data. The estimated return on this investment alone is over $650,000 in preserved crop quality.