Kudzu Bug Constantly Amazes

Last week at the Blackland Farm Managers Field day in Hyde County, North Carolina Dominic Reisig, NC State Extension Entomologist talked Kudzu bug on soybeans. In some parts of South Carolina in 2011 kudzu bug ate up 40% of the soybean yield, and for the past two years it’s been ‘all hands on deck’ in Georgia, South Carolina and now North Carolina to learn as much as possible about the pest, and how and when to control it:

“We are finding that our earlier planted and earlier maturing beans are attractive to kudzu. We have some trials, as do South Carolina and Georgia, where there are April planted beans right next to June planted beans, with no difference in variety, and the bugs are all over the April planted beans and not touching the June planted beans.

The closing of the canopy seems to be the key. Phillip Roberts, an Entomologist in Georgia, and I have been working together, talking to growers and comparing data. It seems they are really attracted to soybeans just as they are flowering. We don’t know of a single case where these insects have hit threshold before the canopies closed.

Many of the June beans are going in behind wheat and there is a correlation with that as well. We think that they aren’t quite as attracted to the double crop beans as they are to the full season beans, even when the planting date is the same. That could be differences in emergence, we are not sure the reasons behind it yet.

We have had a lot of calls asking about the threshold and when it’s time to start spraying. We have been taken a bit by surprise, as it was the first time we saw them in commercially planted beans in May. So we had to go back and figure out a conservative threshold for kudzu bug in May because it wasn’t something we were expecting. This migration this time of the year, we are expecting it and we had a threshold in place. We had tried to get the word out but know we can do better with that.

We do have some websites that farmers can access information:

Go to NCCrops.com and scroll down the page, on the right side is a box called “Tags”. Every time I (Dominic) or another entomologist writes a kudzu article, we tag it. So farmers need to click on that word “Kudzu bug” in that box and it will pull up all of the published information.

Another place to visit is kuzubug.org. That is a conglomeration of researchers across the southeast that are working on the kudzu bug.
This is a pest that needs to be treated. We have documented extensive yield losses with it, but we really think that by following this threshold and using the recommended sprays its something that we can handle.”

SFNToday.com is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. SFNToday.com presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.