New kudzu bug find in Tennessee county
The first capture of Kudzu bug in a Tennessee county directly bordering Kentucky has been reported. A Tennessee Department of Agriculture plant inspector collected Kudzu bug from Claiborne Co. TN. This county borders Lee Co. VA. and Bell, and a small section of Whitley Co KY. The major roadway leading into KY is US 25E through Cumberland Gap and Middlesboro, KY. Fortunately, this was a very small collection of only three specimens, nearer to the upper reaches of Norris Lake than the KY-TN Line. Nonetheless, it illustrates the continual movement of this pest toward KY.
At present this find changes little concerning how this pest will impact KY grain crops. Whitley and Bell counties contain few acres of soybeans such that US Ag. Statistics does not provide an estimate of the acreage in these counties. However, Kudzu is present and the Kudzu bug feeds on a wide variety of legumes (plants producing pods) that might be produced in home and commercial vegetable gardens. Lack of a host is unlikely to be a controlling factor.