Look For this Late-Season Bean Pest

December 14, 2009 06:00 PM

Pam Smith, Farm Journal Seeds & Production Editor

Another late-season soybean pest is knocking. Now, it's the red-banded stink bug. Farmers in Louisiana and Mississippi have reported increasing problems with this bug in the past few years. Now, the red-banded stink bug has made itself a nuisance as far north as southeastern Missouri.

Kelly Tindall, an entomologist at the University of Missouri's Delta Research Center in Portageville, found evidence of the insect in mid-October. She's concerned about 2010 because this species has shown an ability to quickly become a dominant pest in other Southern states.

Tindall says the red-banded stink bug is easily confused with the red-shouldered stink bug because of similar markings and size. "The key characteristic of the red-banded stink bug is when you flip it over, there will be a spine at the third pair of legs that points up to the head,” she says.

Extremely good fliers, the pests are more of a problem in late-planted beans. Like all stink bugs, they have sucking mouthparts to penetrate soybean pods and remove the contents of developing seed.

Tindall says research in Louisiana found red-banded stink bugs caged on soybean pods for 72 hours damaged up to 41% of the seeds and reduced seed weight by a third.

"Another troubling thing is they are harder to kill,” she says. In a plot comparison, the bug reduced yields by 43% in untreated plots, while treated plots had to be treated four times. 

You can email Pam Smith at psmith@farmjournal.com.

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