Peanut Burrower Bugs (Pangaeus bilineatus) have been collected and identified, by the Virginia Tech Insect Identification Laboratory, on the Tidewater AREC farm. Peanut burrower bugs are a subterranean pests that feed on pods and pegs of developing peanuts. Burrower bugs have most likely been around for a while but Lorsban (active ingredient is chlorpyrifos) was controlling their populations. Since the removal of Lorsban (chlorpyrifos) from market shelves, there are no effective chemical controls for producers. Damage caused by the peanut burrower bugs looks similar to stink bug damage. This damage is only seen when peanuts are shelled. The skin is removed at buying points by graders: The insect does not leave an indicator of damage on the shell of the peanut. Peanut burrower bug is more of an issue in hot dry years, and they are just as sporadic as southern corn rootworm.
In terms of prevention, there is no chemical control with the loss of lorsban. Some producers have gone back to using a moldboard plow and completely turning over the soil. Some producers have been planting earlier hoping for a thicker hull development earlier in the season. Damage is minimal in Suffolk, VA, but it is something to keep in mind.