Kudzu bugs's threat to Southern soybeans expected to grow

Syngenta and local extension agents are recommending Southern soybean growers be on the lookout for more kudzu bugs as threats from the pest are expected to increase this summer. 

First found in Georgia in 2009, kudzu bugs have spread to Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Georgia.

They damage soybeans by feeding on the stems and petioles of the plant, causing the plant to stress and reduce the number and size of pods they produce.

Researchers at Louisiana State University's AgCenter have said that the expected surge in kudzu bugs could reduce soybean yields by up to 20 percent this summer.

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

Mississippi State University Extension researchers predict that the kudzu bug population will surge through August. The bugs have two generations each year in the South, with the second generation causing the most damage to soybean crops. 

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

Syngenta recommends using its Endigo ZC insecticide to control kudzu bugs if their numbers reach the recommended threshold number.

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