SEPTEMBER 18, 2006 - Posted at 3:51 p.m. CDT
JONESBORO, AR - Stink bugs and caterpillars are threatening soybean crops in Arkansas, and experts are advising farmers to take action before their fields get eaten up.
Stink bugs are appearing in great numbers, especially in southeast Arkansas. A stink bug damages a soybean in the pod by injecting it with a toxin that makes it easier for the insects to suck out the juices. It also reduces bean quality and yield.
Meanwhile, a type of caterpillar called a looper has become a serious problem across the state. Cabbage loopers and soybean loopers have been found, and the pests are not killed by the same chemicals. The cooperative extension service says growers should be sure of whether they have one looper or the other, or both, before spraying.