Virginia soybean growers are almost certainly going to have some problems with kudzu bug (KB) in soybean fields this summer.

Why? We have been getting very early reports of adults from several southeastern counties for the past several weeks (including Suffolk, Isle of Wight, Sussex, Dinwiddie, Greensville and Prince George). Likely they are much more widespread.

Adults are good fliers and land on clothing, vehicles, houses and other plants.

KBs can be numerous on fig trees. Although they are undoubtedly feeding to some extent, we do not think they are an issue on fig trees. We are recommending they be sprayed with soapy water or insecticidal soap on these transient hosts in yards as they cause a nuisance. Dish washing detergent will kill or run them off.

As you may recall, last summer in our Virginia soybean field surveillance program we observed adult KBs in soybean fields in 16 or so counties but not until well into the season.

We reckoned those adults had migrated from the south.

A few nymphs were also found in a couple of locations. No fields became infested at treatable levels.

By contrast, this years very early adult activity means fields are at much greater risk. According to the folks in South Carolina and Georgia who have been working with kudzu bug since its first occurrence in soybeans in 2009, this very early adult activity means a couple of significant things.

One, the adults we are seeing now over-wintered (in the adult stage) locally. This is a much different picture than what we had last summer and likely means we are at the beginning of having to manage them in fields.