Event in North Carolina highlights the good and bad of kudzu

In the Mountain XPress

by Kari Barrows

For a reviled invasive species, kudzu has a surprising number of fans. Nancy Basket is one. The artist first encountered the plant when she moved to South Carolina from the Pacific Northwest in 1989.

“Nobody liked it — everybody had jokes about it,” Basket recalls. “But I’m Cherokee on my dad’s side, German on my mother’s, and I have a different outlook. Just like some people can dog-whisper, I could kind of whisper to plants, and I felt kudzu was reaching out, trying to find somebody that liked it.” Continue reading

Kudzu bugs move toward Arkansas soybeans

In Delta Farm Press

by Ryan McGeeney, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture

After almost five years of waiting, the inevitable has finally arrived: Kudzu bugs have made their way across the Delta, into Arkansas, and are poised to begin affecting soybeans in the fall.

The pest, which overwinters in kudzu, was first detected in Arkansas in 2013, mostly in small numbers. Robert Goodson, Phillips County agricultural agent for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said that only within recent weeks had the pest been discovered in large numbers in a commercial soybean field near Helena, Ark. Continue reading

Multiple tactics necessary for kudzu eradication

In ARS News

By Sandra Avant, Agricultural Research Service

According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) study, the use of combined management programs can control kudzu more quickly than individual methods in use today.

An invasive weed, kudzu was introduced to the United States in the late 1800s. It disrupts native ecosystems, threatens natural resources, and inhibits use of forest land, particularly in Mississippi, where kudzu is pervasive. Land infested with kudzu has little or no value. Continue reading

NC State University Leads Research into Kudzu Bug Host Preferences

For an exotic invasive insect pest, kudzu bug is fairly easy to control. Spray a pyrethroid, and it’s gone.

The problem is that the pyrethroid also takes with it many beneficial insects that usually keep other soybean pests low in numbers. So although the field may be free of kudzu bugs, it could later be overrun with soybean looper and caterpillar pests that are just as destructive as kudzu bug. So the grower has to keep spraying.

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Discovery of parasitic wasp could be game changer in kudzu bug battle

In Southeast Farm Press

By Jim Langcuster, Alabama Cooperative Extension System

Within only a few days after discovering a native parasitic fly that may reduce kudzu bug numbers significantly over time, Alabama Cooperative Extension System Specialist and Auburn University Researcher Xing Ping Hu has discovered a local egg-parasitic wasp.

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Soybean-damaging kudzu bug inching closer to Arkansas

From Delta Farm Press

The kudzu bug, an insect that has caused up to 20 percent yield losses in some untreated soybean fields in North Carolina, is inching its way nearer to Arkansas.

Native to India and China the pest was first found in the United States in 2009. It’s a tiny insect — just one-sixth to one-quarter of an inch long and is olive green with brown speckles. They waddle when they walk, but are excellent fliers.

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Using invasive plants for biofuels: Potential for ecological problems?

From the Farm Press blog:

The best of intentions sometimes go astray. Take kudzu, for example — the vine that ate the South was brought here in the 1930s with the aim of curbing the soil erosion that was washing away much of the landscape. The USDA actually paid farmers to plant the stuff.

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