Pangaeus bilineatus (Say)
Description: Adult burrower bugs are oval-shaped and about 1/4 inch long. They are dark brown to black except for the ends of the wings, which form a transparent, silvery diamond shape at the rear of body. Nymphs are smaller, dark brown, and have the same general body shape. Other species of burrower bugs found on peanut have a different appearance, but this description fits the major pest species.
Biology: Winter is spent as an adult in peanut fields and other crops. When the soil warms up in March, adults move up in the soil, mate and lay eggs. There are two generations per year in South Carolina peanut. Populations increase during pod fill in August and September. Both adults and nymphs feed on peanut kernels with their needle-like mouthparts. Injury is not noticeable on the hull or seed coat, but shows up as light yellow lesions to dark brown pits on the kernels when the seed coat is removed. Burrower bug feeding causes grade reductions by reducing kernel weight. Severe infestations can result in damaged kernel grade penalties and significant yield loss.
Management: Damage is much more likely in reduced tillage production systems and appears to be correlated with drought stress. When fall tillage is used to plant cover crops, damage potential is significantly reduced compared to no-till planting of the cover crop. Chlorpyrifos applied in July controls burrower bug, but the best defense is irrigation or tillage. Volunteer peanuts in corn or cotton rotational crops increase the risk of economic injury on the following peanut crop.