By Angus Catchot, Jeff Gore and Don Cook —
In 2017, we were able to accurately predict the threat of redbanded stink bugs based on sampling ditch banks in the spring.
Every year we sample ditch banks across the state to make collections of various insect pests. With most, such as tarnished plant bugs, what we find in ditch banks does not correlate well to what growers may find in their fields.
However, with RBSB, finding them in the spring in substantial numbers is an indication of how far north and in what numbers they successfully overwintered.
We were commonly finding RBSB in crimson clover well north of Highway 82 in fairly high numbers in 2017. Additionally, we were seeing reproduction as early as March 2017.
Unlike other pests, ditch bank samples for RBSB are a strong indicator of the potential problem, and this in fact did materialize into a greater issue last year.
Currently, we have sampled crimson clover as far south as Lucedale, Mississippi, along with sampling in all parts of the state.
As of April 15, we have found zero RBSB, even in areas that had extremely high numbers last year. This is good news for our soybean farmers.
Will there be a RBSB problem in 2018? Chances that we will experience problems even close to our experiences last year will be very low.
Louisiana entomologist are also conducting these surveys and to date, they are only finding low numbers of adults with no reproduction. The Louisiana survey results are normal for the state, but this could result in some level of infestation for the southern part of Mississippi in very late planted beans, if these low populations have time to multiply.
If there is one piece of advice I can give you, it’s to plant early. Early planted soybeans are the best insecticide we have ever had.
Angus Catchot is an Extension entomologist; Jeff Gore, research and Extension entomologist; and Don Cook, research entomologist, all with Mississippi State University.