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Kudzu-Eating Bug Could Spread to Cash Crops

Bean plataspid

An insect that feeds on invasive kudzu is making its way into North Carolina. The so-called kudzu bug was first discovered in Georgia several years ago. Jack Bacheler is an entymologist with N.C. State University. He says the problem is the beetle, called the bean plataspid, also likes crops like soybeans.

Jack Bacheler: "In the state of Georgia, of course since they've had it as an economic problem in 2010, they were able to do a number of tests including screening difference chemicals for control of this thing and in the course of doing so, of course, they could find out in a big host like soybeans what the potential yield loss was and they found a yield loss approaching twenty percent."
Bacheler says the pest has been found in at least thirty-four counties in North Carolina this year. It's expected to spread rapidly, eventually threatening this state's soybean crop.

Eric Hodge hosts WUNC’s broadcast of Morning Edition, and files reports for the North Carolina news segments of the broadcast. He started at the station in 2004 doing fill-in work on weekends and All Things Considered.
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