Purchase Area soybean producers are reporting large numbers of stink bugs in their fields. University of Kentucky Extension entomologist Doug Johnson encourages soybean producers to scout their fields as soon as possible for this pest and continue scouting until the soybeans reach the beginning maturity, or R7, stage.

"Late-season pests of soybeans are very dangerous, because they feed directly on the yield, and because they are often overlooked," said Johnson, who's in the UK College of Agriculture.

The large number of stink bug populations could partially be caused by the drought in the Purchase Area and other parts of western Kentucky. Typically, stink bugs feed on a variety of plants, but this year's drought may have limited their feeding options, causing them to concentrate on remaining crops. In addition to soybeans, this includes many grass crops, especially newly seeded ones.

Three or four stink bug species are common in Kentucky, and they are typically brown or green. Adults are about one-half- to three-quarter-inch in length and shield shaped. Stink bug nymphs are smaller, have colored spots on their backs and do not have wings.

Stink bug populations are normally higher in later-maturing fields, especially those with flowering plants. Adults tend to clump together. Early infestations may be found along the edge of a field.