New Soybean Pests: Kudzu Bugs and Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs

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Growers in eastern states are seeing two new soybean pests: the kudzu bug and the brown marmorated stink bug.

"The kudzu bug, or bean plataspid, has been migrating from Georgia into mid-South states, including the Carolinas and Tennessee," reports Paula Davis, Pioneer senior manager for insect and disease resistance traits. "It's also in Virginia and nearby states."

It tends to inhabit kudzu, a noxious weed, but it also feeds on soybeans. Kudzu bugs are attracted to bright surfaces, such as white cars or houses. They can overwinter in wooded areas or in the walls of houses.

"The kudzu bug is smaller than a stink bug but larger than an aphid," Davis notes. To control kudzu bugs, an insecticide must penetrate the canopy.

The other pest, the brown marmorated stink bug, feeds on both corn and soybean plants. They're appearing in larger numbers and posing a threat to soybean fields. They tend to move in and out of fields, feeding primarily around the borders, Davis explains.

Close scouting is essential (click here for information on more soybean pests). Stinkbugs can return after an early spraying. Many experts recommend spraying the field border with an insecticide to control this pest.