Millipedes (Peridontopyge spp.)
Millipedes are among the economically important soil pest of groundnuts. They are brown to blackish in colour and curl when disturbed. They attack groundnut seedlings, between planting and approximately 20 days after planting, feeding on the emerging cotyledons and moving to the root system at the collar region. The cortex is often damaged serving as an entry point for secondary infection by microorganisms. The development of plants surviving the attack is often retarded.
Millipedes also attack maturing groundnut during pod formation, i.e. when the pods are still soft. Immature pods from severed pegs are often perforated and thus suffer secondary infection or invasion by rot-causing organisms such as Aspergillus flavus. Millipedes may also damage flowers. Birds are main predators of millipedes.
- Practise good sanitation.
- Prepare land properly.
- Select sites away from forest (breeding sites for millipedes).
- Cover exposed pods.
- Close cracks in the soil.
- Use varieties with pods well buried.