Tiny Worm Causes Big Problems for Soybean Growers

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LSU Extension Service entomologist Dr. Jeff Davis has been doing research this past year inot how to control soybean loopers.

“Really the focus has been on insecticide resistance,” says Davis. “We’ve had some populations over the last couple of years that have been showing up at a resistance to even the new products that we have out there.”

Davis’ research is aimed at whey soybean loopers are so resistant and how expensive that resistance is to growers.

“And what’s showing is that we’re getting more and more resistance building year after year.  This insect, the soybean looper, does not over-winter in Louisiana so these problems are occurring elsewhere, yet we’re having to deal with them,” says Davis.

And where might the loopers be over-wintering?  According to Davis’ research, “Mexico, Central America, South America, the Caribbean area.  They blow in.  They come in and migrate every year.  We’re trying to see what kind of resistance is going to build over time.”

But controlling soybean loopers may be causing another problem.  Says Davis “As we apply these insecticides for standby control, we might actually be flaring the soybean loopers because we’re killing off natural enemies.  So some of the research is focused on that as well.”

(This report a service of the Louisiana Soybean and Grain Research and Promotion Board)