- Agronomic: soybeans
- Pest Management: integrated pest management, weather monitoring
The kudzu bug, Megacopta cribraria, is an exotic invasive pest on soybean in the Southeastern United States. Yield losses in untreated soybean fields averaged 18% and up to 47% in Georgia and South Carolina. Soybean currently comprises 90% of all US oil seed crops, thus the economic threat of kudzu bugs is immense. It appears that cold temperatures limit the kudzu bug’s northern range. Maryland is currently the northern limit; however, under climate change there exists potential for kudzu bugs to keep moving north. Determining the kudzu bug’s relationship to cold temperatures in the fall and winter could aid in determining emergent spring population size, outbreak potential, and northward range expansion under several climate change scenarios. Use of this information could be used to determine the threat of kudzu bugs in a region as well as timing of pest management options in its current range. Therefore, I propose to determine key cold tolerance factors of kudzu bugs and use the relationship in a model for integrated pest management plans. Furthermore, all results will be communicated directly with soybean producers.
Project objectives from proposal:
My overarching research goal is to determine key factors of cold tolerance for kudzu bugs to be used in integrated pest management plans and communicating research directly with producers. This is broken into three main objectives:
1. Measure key responses, such a thermal limits on survivability, to cold tolerance in association with overwintering across a range of kudzu bug populations.
2. Observe kudzu bug phenology and movement to overwintering locations in the fall to determine temperature and realized overwintering population size.
3. Create a model for integrated pest management and communication of findings with soybean producers and the agricultural community at large.