Warm weather bringing farm field bugs out | News
CATAWBA COUNTY, NC
(WBTV) – Sustained warm weather has awoken the insect world and some
farmers are concerned about what that will mean to their crops this year.
Lincoln County, the first signs of Kudzu Bugs are appearing next to alfalfa and
wheat fields. "It's pretty early for the bugs to be out," said Libby Yarber of
the North Carolina Agriculture Extension Office.
The little pests that look
similar to ladybugs but without all the color, tend to feed on Kudzu but also
have soybean plants as a favorite meal too. The bugs draw sap out of the stems
and that inhibits the plants ability to grow. In the case of soybeans, and
infested field could see yields drop by almost half.
Farmer Van Proctor surveyed the edge of an alfalfa field
Thursday and found plenty of the kudzu bugs around. "We had a few here last
year but not enough to worry about" but Proctor says he is worried this year.
"It being March and they are already flying around it makes the hair on your
neck stand up and worry a bit."
There are pesticides that can be used to spray
and kill the bugs but Yarber said the problem is there are so many of the Kudzu
Bugs even if a farmer sprays a field one week, they may have to go back and
spray again the next week.
also concerned that the bugs are coming out so early. It means the population
will be bigger than expected once the soybeans are planted in mid-summer and
could spell big trouble for that crop, she said. "In Georgia, they've lost up
to 46% of the yield in some fields to the bugs."
Proctor said he would be careful which crops he would plant
where this year. A field next to kudzu overgrowth was supposed to be planted in
soybeans but Proctor said Thursday he will put corn there instead. The bugs
haven't caused any problems with corn crops yet, said agriculture officials.
Experts say farmers need to check their crops for
infestations and take action as soon as they see signs of trouble. "It could be
a busy summer," said Proctor.
Copyright 2012 WBTV. All rights reserved.
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