The kudzu bug situation has very quickly become a real problem for Virginia soybean producers.

We are getting reports of infestations in the South Boston area and one from near Yale in Sussex County. I am quite sure that there are more infested fields. The image sent to me from the Yale field showed at least a dozen KB adults on a single plant.

WHAT IS THE THRESHOLD and WHEN SHOULD YOU TREAT???

The treatment threshold for full grown plants has not changed (see below), but I have new information on thresholds for seedling/vegetative stage plants. Based on an experiment in Georgia, they (and others) are recommending treating at V2-V3 stage at an average of 5 bugs (adults and/or nymphs) per plant.

The threshold increases to 10 bugs per plant for plants from 1-2 feet tall. The established threshold of one nymph per sweep (one swoosh of the net) should be used for plants above 2 feet tall.

Plants should be sampled at least 50 feet from the edge of the field. The reason for this is that the adults have an extended migration period (6-8 weeks) and colonize field edges first. If you sample the edges, chances are you will make a spray decision too soon before the migration is over.

They stress these thresholds are PRELIMINARY and will absolutely change as we get more information.

Here is a cautionary tale provided by Dominic Reisig at NCSU. A North Carolina grower noticed kudzu bugs on the edge of his April-planted beans in May 2012. They had not yet infested the interior portions of the field. He opted to spray. He then had to spray again in June, as the adults remigrated into the field.

Additionally, sprays don’t kill eggs, so these hatched into nymphs. The grower then had to spray a third time in June, as spider mites were flared in the field from the lack of beneficial insects. We want to avoid these costly situations while still preserving our yield.

(For an earlier report on the Virginia kudzu bug situation, see Early-season adult kudzu bug activity in Virginia alarming).