MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A researcher with the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service says she has discovered a local egg-parasitic wasp that she believes could be the answer for controlling the pesky kudzu bug, which has wreaked havoc on the soybean crop in the Southeast.
Xing Ping Hu says the wasp she discovered deposits its eggs inside the kudzu bug’s eggs, and “has demonstrated a high capacity to reduce significantly the populations of kudzu bugs in soybean fields.”
The discovery was made by Hu’s research assistant, Auburn University graduate student Julian Golec, during a routine investigation of kudzu bug damage in a soybean field.
She said before the discovery of the wasps, the bugs existed mostly without natural predators.
“That’s why they become invasive in the first place,” Hu said. “They had no natural enemies to balance the ecosystem. It’s like they are saying, ‘No one can mess with me, so I can do what I want.”’
Hu said the extension service has sent letters to farmers asking them not to spray pesticide during the wasps’ egg-laying season in July and August.
Hu’s announcement comes shortly after researchers discovered an insect that preys on adult kudzu bugs.