Friday, September 27, 2013

Stink Bugs Could Still be a Problem in Soybeans

Doug Johnson, Extension Entomologist

Because of delayed planting and a cool summer, Kentucky soybean producers are likely to have considerable acreage of late maturing soybeans. This probably causes most folks to be concerned with frost. However,this extended maturity may also set up fields for additional damage by stink bugs. Producers and consultants should remain watchful as long as pods are still filling.

Green stink bug
Brown stink bug
By far, the most common stink bug found in Kentucky is the green stink bug. Our research indicates that green stink bugs make up greater than 80% of the population. Nonetheless, there are several species of brown stinkbugs in KY grown beans as well. So expect to see both types.

Stink bugs can cause decreases in both yield and seed quality. These pesky bugs feed directly on the bean using their piercing-sucking mouth parts. They puncture the pod wall and stab the developing bean, removing nutrients and sometimes allowing entrance of pathogens into the pod / bean. Usually, there is no clear evidence of this damage until the pods are mature. The only clear evidence one has of pests is observing them in the field, damage symptoms are too late.

 Stink bugs will hang around until frost, feeding on whatever is available to them. In soybeans we consider the pods at risk up to R6 stage. So if you have beans less mature than this you should definitely be looking for these critters. Once soybeans are in the R6 stage stink bug damage is much more difficult to predict.

Sampling for the pest can be done in two ways. In wide row beans a shake cloth (aka = drop cloth) may be used. This is a three- foot long section of white cloth wide enough to reach from row to row. Shake the beans on both sides over the cloth and count the stink bugs that fall to the cloth. Remember, adults can fly so you need to count quickly. Juveniles do not yet have wings so they are a bit slower to escape.

In narrow row beans you will need to use a sweep net. The 15” diameter sweep net is the standard tool for most thresholds. Take 25 sweeps per location and count the stink bugs captured. In both types of sampling, each field should be sampled at multiple locations. The more locations you sample,the more accurate and precise your estimates will be. Average the number of stink bugs captured over all locations.

Thresholds that warrant control are: shake cloth – an average of one stink bug per row foot, or if sampled with a sweep net, treat if you collect an average of 9 stinkbugs per 25 sweeps at R4-R6.

If control is required, synthetic pyrethroid insecticides are commonly used for control and are very effective on green stink bugs. Brown stink bugs are a bit more tolerant of pyrethroids, so if they are plentiful, inclusion of an organophosphate like acephate may be needed. Insecticides for use against this pest in soybeans may be found at:

Brown marmorated stink bug
Producers in the central and eastern Kentucky production areas also need to keep their eyes open for the two invasive stink bug species resident in Kentucky. Populations of the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) have become established in central and eastern Kentucky over the last three years. BMSBs look typically like other brown stink bugs except that they are often a bit larger and have two small but very distinct white bands surrounding the joints in their antennae. In addition, the Kudzu bug has been found in three southeastern Kentucky counties bordering I-75. They are dark green to olive with a rounded shape and about the size of an English pea. Neither of these species is believed to be of major importance in this year’s crop, but as their populations become established and grow larger in size they have the potential to become major soybean pests Any interested party that has collected what is believe to be a BMSB or Kudzu bug is asked to submit the insect to their county Cooperative Extension Office for identification.
Kudzu bug

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