Most recently reviewed by: Kerry Siders & Haley Kennedy (2020)
Common Name(s): Burrower Bug, Burrowing Bug, Peanut Burrower Bug
The burrower bug is a soil dwelling insect only leaving the soil to migrate to new locations within a field or a nearby field. Their presence and damage is favored by hot and dry weather conditions. Feeding damage by this insect can reduce the quality of peanuts, and in other crops rarely cause economic damage.
Adult burrower bugs are small, roughly ¼” in size and resemble a small stink bug. Adults are black with the tips of the forewings being clear and membranous. Legs of adults are covered in spines.
Immature insects can range in color depending on the exact species of the insect. The immature peanut burrower bug has a grey-tan abdomen with three black spots on the back that are oval in shape.
Habitat & Hosts
Burrower bugs are known to feed on a variety of plants including peanut, soybean, cotton, conr, peppers, strawberry, spinach, oak trees, peach, pear, and more. Burrower bugs occur in high numbers around lights at night during periods in the fall. They can be a pest of crop production and found throughout Texas. This insect is medically harmless.
The burrower bugs belongs to the order Hemiptera, and has an incomplete life cycle (hemimetabolous). The adult female lays its eggs at or just below the soil line and once hatched the nymph resembles the adult without wings. As the insect develops through five instars in the nymph stage, its wings will slowly form. In Texas there appears to be two peaks in the population with the first occurring in mid May to June and the second occurring in late July to August.
ManagementIf you live in the State of Texas, contact your local county agent or entomologist for management information. If you live outside of Texas, contact your local extension for management options.
The soil dwelling habitat of this insect makes management options complicated. Avoiding dry soil conditions through irrigation will minimize the presence and severity of damage caused by this insect. In row crops chlorpyrifos can be applied, but this insecticide is currently under EPA review and may not be available in the near future. Other insecticides options include bifenthrin, imidacloprid, and/or lambda-cyhalothrin; however, little data has been conducted on the efficacy of these insecticides against the burrower bug. Additionally, the entomopathogenic nematode Heterohabdities bacteriophora has been identified as a potential biological control agent.
Martini, Xavier and David Wright. 2017. The Peanut Burrower Bug-an Emerging Pest In Peanuts. Feb. 17, 2017. Field Crops, Insects, Peanut, Pest Management. nwdistrict.ifas.ufl.edu/phag/2017/01/17/the-peanut-burrower-bug-an-emerging-pest-in-peanuts
Baughman, Todd, Peter Dotray, James Grichar, Mark Black, Jason Woodward, Calvin Trostle, Scott Russell, Clyde Crumley, Pat Porter, Leon New, Paul Baumann, Mark McFarland. Texas Peanut Production Guide. texaspeanutboard.com/wp-content/uploads/peanutproductionguide.pdf