Invasive species kudzu bugs shown on soybeans Virginia Tech
WATCH FOR THIS BEAN-BITER: If you spot this bug-ugly insect, guard your soybeans.

Kudzu bug invades Mid-Atlantic soybeans

Move over brown marmorated stinkbug, the kudzu bug is the latest insect to invade the Mid-Atlantic; soybeans are its favorite meal.

Last week, Maryland Department of Agriculture alerted soybean growers to the presence of kudzu bugs. The invasive species was confirmed in Anne Arundel, Calvert, Carroll, Charles, Dorchester, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Saint Mary’s and Talbot counties.

Kudzu bugs can reduce yields, but they can be controlled with appropriate pesticides. “They can have a significant impact on crop yields,” warned Maryland Ag Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “It’s very important that farmers are aware of this insect and plan accordingly. Luckily, the kudzu bug is easily controlled with proper pest management planning.”

The kudzu bug typically feeds on kudzu vines, then may migrate to soybeans and other types of available beans. Excessive kudzu bug feeding can reduce soybean yields by reducing pods per plant, reducing beans per pod and/or reducing seed size.

Wherever the vine is
Kudzu is known as “the vine that ate the South.” An invasive, fast-growing vine, it is pervasive in the South and moving north — bringing its favorite insect into northern latitudes as winter temperatures moderate.

In Maryland, the pests have mostly been collected on kudzu. But some already have been found on soybeans in Dorchester County and could spread to other counties.

Like the brown marmorated stinkbug, the kudzu bug has a bad smell and can cause skin irritation. The worst times for kudzu bugs are early spring and fall.

Source: Maryland Department of Agriculture

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