This year there were several first-time-ever’s with insect pests in the Virginia soybean crop. 

For the first time ever, we found brown marmorated stink bugs (BMSB) in soybean fields in 41 counties, over half of the major soybean growing counties, ranging from the northernmost to the Carolina border. 

For the first time we found BMSBs in soybean fields in our Coastal Plain region, and in two counties that grow cotton. And importantly, a BMSB nymph was found in a cotton field, which we think is the first ever reported in the U.S. 

Kudzu bug also gave us some first-time-ever’s. Last year (2011) one kudzu bug nymph was found in kudzu late in the season in only one county bordering Carolina. 

This year we found our first adults and by mid-season, adults were found in soybean fields in 19 counties. We also found the first kudzu bug nymphs in soybeans, and, for the first time we found both kudzu bugs and BMSBs in the same soybean fields in eight different counties.

I personally do not recall ever seeing this many first-time-ever’s in one season. I feel like we are in an insect pest war zone, now confronted by two relatively new pest species — BMSBs moving down from the north, and kudzu bugs moving rapidly up from the south. 

Check me if I am wrong, but I think Virginia is unique in this challenge among all other soybean growing states.

So what are doing about it? We ramped up our statewide surveillance efforts to include three field scouts, one located in the Suffolk area (southeast), one in the mid-central part of the state, and one in the north central area.