Characterizing Overwintering Habitats of the Invasive Kudzu Bug Around Commercial Soybean Fields

Monday, March 14, 2016: 2:48 PM
Governor's Room I (Sheraton Raleigh Hotel)
Alejandro Del Pozo , Department of Entomology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
Dominic Reisig , Department of Entomology, North Carolina State University, Plymouth, NC
Clyde Sorenson , Department of Entomology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
Megacopta cribraria (F.), the kudzu bug, is a serious soybean pest in the southeastern US, where management is limited to broad-spectrum insecticide applications. The lack of information about the biology of this insect, including its overwintering ecology, limits our understanding of this species. The main goal of this study was to characterize overwintering habitats of this insect, in order to predict the magnitude of overwintering populations dispersing to soybean fields. We indirectly quantified overwintering sites by measuring the height of trees located at the perimeter of twelve commercial soybean fields in NC during 2015. Population of both nymphs and adults were monitored throughout the growing season at scouting points located at the perimeter of selected fields. A correlation analysis was used to investigate associations between tree height and kudzu bugs. Population densities of kudzu bugs at field perimeters were positively correlated with the measured height of trees directly surrounding those field edges. These data support the hypothesis that taller trees may influence the dynamics of overwintering kudzu bugs and their dispersal throughout the season. Ultimately, this study will help to identify commercial soybean fields that may be at risk for higher kudzu bug infestations based on tree height.