Kudzu bug’s arrival in Arkansas just a ‘matter of time’

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The arrival of kudzu bug to Arkansas is not “if,” but “when,” Jeremy Greene professor of entomology at Clemson University, told a crowd of around 250 on Friday at the Tri-State Soybean Forum.

“You will get kudzu bugs here in Arkansas,” he said. “It’s just a matter of time.”

Greene presented results of research on this invasive pest that exploded from the time it was first found in a handful of counties in Georgia in 2009 to span the South to the eastern edge of the Mississippi River.

Kudzu bugs can impact soybean yields.

Greene said research indicates that pyrethroids seem to have the greatest effect on kudzu bug populations and the key is to keeping the bug in hand is controlling the nymphs in this pest that will produce two generations a season.

Terry Spurlock, Extension plant pathologist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, discussed research on the distribution of aerial blight in soybean fields that were in annual rotation with rice.

The inoculum for aerial blight fares well in the wet conditions of rice fields and will persist and accumulate in the soil. “It’s a big tough disease. It just sort of kicks the door in and does what it wants to do,” he said.

Spurlock said there’s a correlation between elevation and occurrence of the disease, with higher levels of infection correlating with lower elevations in the field and in bends in the levees.

“That inoculum is built up in the soil and it’s ready to go,” he said. “If we get cool and we get wet, at canopy closure, we better be hunting aerial blight.”

He also warned that Rhizoctonia is very diverse and cause lesions on different crops. “Some of them are cosmetic. They can fool you,” he said “They won’t all advance and become aerial blight.”

The annual Tri-State Soybean Forum is presented by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, LSU AgCenter and Mississippi State University Extension Service.

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