Kudzu bug.
Kudzu bug.

The ever-increasing threat from kudzu bugs to Southern soybeans is expected to continue throughout the season. As a result, Syngenta and local extension experts recommend that growers increase their scouting efforts now.

“As kudzu bugs continue their expansion and population growth in the South, growers need to take note and be wary of potential yield losses,” said John Koenig, insecticide technical product lead at Syngenta. “Scouting for this pest and treating when necessary will be paramount this season and likely in seasons to come.”

In the South, kudzu bugs have two generations per year, with the second generation inflicting the most damage. Mississippi State University Extension researchers are expecting a population surge with this second generation at the end of July through August. According to researchers with the LSU AgCenter, kudzu bugs have the potential to reduce soybean yields by up to 20 percent. They damage soybeans by feeding on the stems and petioles of the plant. This feeding stresses soybean plants, which reduces pods per plant, beans per pod and even seed size, leading to yield loss.

To reduce such losses, agronomists at the Mississippi State University Extension recommend a treatment threshold of five adults per plant during the vegetative stages and a single nymph per sweep during the reproductive stages.

Since their first sighting in Georgia in 2009, kudzu bugs have continued to increase their presence in the South. After expanding across Alabama and Mississippi, kudzu bugs were identified in six Louisiana parishes in 2014. So far this season, three more parishes have been added to the list. In total, this pest can now be found in the following 12 states: Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Georgia.