|Farmers should contact extension office before spraying insecticides|
The kudzu bug attaches itself to the stem, underneath the leaf of the soybean plant, draining nutrients and moisture from the plant.
Friday, July 5, 2013
By STACEY HAIRSTON - Staff Writer
A new bug is on the scene in Franklin County, and it is finding a home in local farmers' soybean crops.
The kudzu bug, originally from Asia, has quickly become a real problem for area soybean producers.
"There are three confirmed cases in Franklin County so far," said Sean Duff, agriculture and natural resource, crop and soil science agent with the Virginia Cooperative Extension in Rocky Mount.
"The first report came to us in early June from a farm in Callaway," he said.
The pests began their route in south central Georgia and have been slowing migrating north. The most recent reports have come from southeastern counties, including Suffolk, Dinwiddie, Greensville and Prince George, according to southeastfarmpress.com.
"There have been reports in Virginia for about two years now," said Duff.
The pests prefer feeding on kudzu and soybeans, but have started skipping the kudzu in favor of the soybeans, said Duff.
Kudzu bugs attach themselves to the stem underneath the soybean leaf and drain the nutrients and moisture from the plant, which can lead to significant field loss.
They are much like the stink bug in that they emit a foul odor when disturbed, Duff said.
The Virginia Cooperative Extension is urging farmers to call immediately if the presence of the kudzu bug is suspected.
"We will be happy to come out to your farm and help determine whether treatment is necessary or not," said Duff.
It is most important not to spray insecticides before contacting the extension office, he added.
"Spraying will not kill eggs, leaving them to hatch and require more spraying," said Duff. "Assumptions can become extremely costly."
The extension office is here to serve the public, and it is free to consult with an agent, he added.