Dr. Gus Lorenz and Dr. Nicholas Seiter, University of Arkansas Extension entomologists, and Chuck Farr, crop consultant in Crawfordsville, Arkansas, provide awareness to soybean growers in Arkansas about the kudzu bug and the appropriate measures to take when necessary.

“We want to treat when we need to, obviously, but we don’t want to make [treatment] applications because we have some kudzu bugs out there,” said Dr. Guz Lorenz

The kudzu bug is new to our state and its first invasion was last year in Marion, AR in Crittenden County. They have become an economic pest in soybeans because they can be detrimental to the yield.

Kudzu bugs are mobile and strong-flying insects. They have an unusual box shape appearance and produce a potent odor when disturbed. These pests have piercing-sucking mouthparts that feed on the stem and remove fluid and moisture. When feeding in large numbers, kudzu bugs leave behind dark lesions on the stem.

Kudzu bugs affect the soybean in the following ways:

  • Reduces the seed fill
  • Reduces the size of the seed
  • Reduces the numbers of seeds the soybean produces

Seiter states in terms of management, these pests are fairly easy to control and require proper scouting with the sweep net and insecticides. Farmers need to be cautious when they apply applications. Lorenz suggests timing your application well and spraying only once, so you won’t affect the yield. The bugs’ source of energy comes from underground mounds, which may take several years to permanently remove with multiple applications.

As of right now, Dr. Sieter has identified multiple kudzu fields, but no invasion of these pests have occurred in soybeans. Overall, farmers need to keep a close eye on these stinky pests this year.