Fungus Keeping Kudzu Bugs below Thresholds on Soybeans
Kudzu bugs are a fairly new pest for our area but are already familiar to residents in Northwest Florida. Researchers are continuously studying new pests to make research-based control recommendations.
One research project (UGA research article) is investigating a fungus, Beauveria bassiana, that infects kudzu bugs. Beauveria bassiana causes white muscadine disease which is fatal for many insects. Beauveria bassiana affects kudzu bugs and seem to be holding them at bay for area farmers.
While scouting a field this week in Okaloosa County, I found several kudzu bugs that were killed by this fungus, and the population was still below the threshold in this field. Farmers who are growing soybeans should scout their fields for kudzu bugs and look for bugs affected by this fungus.
The established thresholds for kudzu bugs on soybeans are currently five adults per plant pre-flower, and one immature per sweep with a sweep net post-flowering. If populations rise above thresholds, treat the field. Look carefully before spraying though as Beauveria bassiana may be working to reduce the population. This will save area farmers time and money!
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