There is a new pest that’s plaguing some farmers in South Carolina, but experts are fighting back.
The bean plataspid, or “Kudzu bug” as it has locally become known, first appeared in Georgia about three years ago. It has since spread rapidly around the state and now has a firm foothold in South Carolina. It has also moved into Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.
The plataspid originates from Asia and is known for having an appetite for Kudzu, but the problem is it also has been destroying soybean crops. The plataspids also, like their stink-bug cousins, emit a foul odor.
Now scientists, farmers, and agriculture experts have teamed up to fight the pest at a national conference at Clemson University’s Edisto Research and Education Center in Blackville, S.C.
“This pest has spread rapidly in the United States in just a couple of growing seasons,” said Jeremy Greene, the Clemson Extension entomologist who organized the conference and field day in Blackville. “It’s a problem on soybeans that has become an economic issue, so we’re looking for ways to address that problem.”
They’ll compare notes on how different varieties of soybeans hold up to the bug and what insecticides and bio-control methods work best. Both the United Soybean Board and the South Carolina Soybean Board are helping sponsor the conference, which will draw scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Clemson, North Carolina State University and the University of Georgia.
The Edisto lab has been working with Clemson and the Soybean Board to develop pesticides and other methods to fight the plataspid.
Tripp Girardeau contributed to this report