- Kudzu bugs were discovered in kudzu along I-75 and U.S. 25E and U.S. 25W in Whitley, Bell and Laurel counties along the Kentucky/Tennessee line.
- The main agronomic crop affected will be soybeans.
THE KUDZU bug, which can damage soybean fields quickly when populations explode, was recently confirmed in Kentucky along the Tennessee line.
Kudzu bug adults and juveniles have been collected from kudzu along Interstate 75 and U.S. Highway 25E and W.
Knowing that kudzu bug movement was continuing toward Kentucky along the I-75 corridor, and at last report was in Claiborne County, Tenn., which borders Bell and part of Whitley counties in Kentucky, I thought it prudent to take some samples along I-75 in these southeastern Kentucky counties.
Aug. 27-28 I traveled to this area and using a 15-inch sweep net sampled kudzu patches along I-75 and U.S. 25E and U.S. 25W in Whitley, Bell, Knox and Laurel counties. This was a very small and targeted sampling, designed to look in the places most likely to be infested.
I collected live kudzu bugs in Whitley, Bell and Laurel counties. I sampled only a single location in Knox County and it was negative.
All the positive samples produced only small numbers of insects, a maximum of 5 in 100 sweeps, but both adult and juvenile forms were captured at multiple locations. It appears likely that the current population is not yet large, but reproduction is occurring.
I did have several negative samples, but the number of sampling sites is so small, that zero probably does not have much meaning.
I have no way of knowing just when these insects arrived in Kentucky. There was no sampling when the population was at zero. Whether the insects I caught first arrived in Kentucky this year or if these are the offspring of “over-wintered” kudzu bugs is unknown. Perhaps a follow up survey in 2014 will give us some idea of how this pest over-winters in Kentucky.
I do not believe this population is a major threat to Kentucky this year. However, if this pest is able to maintain itself in our region, particularly by successful over-wintering, it is likely to become an important pest.
The main agronomic crop affected will be soybeans. However, this pest feeds on a very wide range of plants, especially legumes like beans, lentils, peas and peanuts.
In addition, this bug is a home invader. In fact, this is how the kudzu bug was first collected in metro Atlanta (where it was first confirmed in the United States several years ago). Homeowners were calling their pest control operators because the pest was congregating in very large numbers on their houses.
To see what the experts are saying about the kudzu bug, visit Soybean growers might as well get acquainted with the kudzu bug. But researchers are not far behind this invasive pest as can be found at Discovery of parasitic wasp could be game changer in kudzu bug battle.