MARVELL — Arkansas soybean growers are facing a challenge from a pest that's new to the state: the pea weevil.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture said Wednesday that the weevil appears to have come from Europe and found its way to Phillips County in eastern Arkansas.
The pest has been found so far only in several fields near Marvell, but it has also surfaced in Louisiana and Washington state.
UA system entomologist Gus Lorenz says immature weevils feed on soybean roots and mature pea weevils eat the leaves.
The quarter-inch, brown bug is hard to kill. Pesticide treatment kill weevils on the plants, but they often also lurk among the roots, so several applications may be necessary. Extension agents are working to develop the best spraying strategy.