Infestation: Pesticide-resistant kudzu bugs devouring US soybean crop

WHAT: Kudzu vines spread beyond control after being introduced here from Japan in the late 19th century. But the kudzu bug arrived by accident around 2009 and multiplied into even more of a threat, because it eats soybeans as voraciously as it does kudzu.

WHERE: Crop losses as high as 23 percent of soybean fields were recorded in Georgia. The bugs are rampant in North and South Carolina and now Alabama. They could reach Illinois and Iowa, where hundreds of millions of soybean bushels are grown.

WHAT’S BEING DONE: Pesticides don’t wipe out the bugs. DNA research hasn’t succeeded yet. Scientists are testing a tiny Asian wasp that lays its eggs inside the kudzu bug eggs. So far, the wasp doesn’t seem to harm any native insects or plants.

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