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Stinkbugs continue to plague soybeans across the U.S.

By Staff | Aug 1, 2012

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Various stinkbug species are spreading quickly throughout the United States. Growers as far apart as Louisiana and Nebraska say 25 to 35 stinkbugs are being reported per 100 sweeps, putting the health and yield of soybean plants in jeopardy.

Soybean fields can quickly become the feeding ground for many different species of stinkbugs; the most common and damaging species include the green, the southern green, and the red-banded species, all of which continue to be found across the U.S.

In addition to the traditional species, a new stinkbug known as the brown marmorated stinkbug is being reported in various states across the country, and is already a serious pest in vegetables and farm crops in the Mid-Atlantic region.

When stinkbugs invade a field, they remove fluids from soybean plants by feeding on the stems, foliage, blooms and, most importantly, the developing pods and beans, causing significant damage to the quality of the soybeans and ultimately to the yield.

“Stinkbugs can certainly ruin soybean harvests by causing major yield losses,” said Roy Boykin, entomologist, technical asset lead, Syngenta. “Stinkbug feeding can damage early seed formation, which can result in aborted, undersized or deformed seeds. With damaged seeds, the wounds in the plant can provide an avenue for diseases to gain entry into the pod.”

Experts suggest scouting early to prevent damage from stinkbugs. While the insect pest is not always visible, be on the lookout for small necrotic black or brown spots mainly on developing pods but also on other plant tissue that result from feeding damage.

As stinkbugs are becoming a more extensive issue, experts have determined uniform threshold levels to range from one stinkbug per one foot of row to one per three feet of row depending on species and price of soybeans before farmers should apply insecticides.

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