Little bug causing big problems for farmers in North Carolina

Posted at 11:43 PM, Jul 22, 2014

A small plant bug is a big threat to the cotton crop in Edenton, costing farmers like Kenny Goodwin thousands.

Five weeks ago, hundreds of the cotton-ruining insects showed up in Goodwin's fields.

It's a growing cotton and profit eating nuisance in the Tar Heel State.

“We've had a problem here or there but never over and over. It seems to be getting a little worse every year,” says Goodwin.

Goodwin's cotton should be fine, it's his bottom line that he's worried about. He's spraying for the bugs every 3-4 days, spending about $2,000 a week to keep the plant bugs off of his cotton.

Since they showed up in May, he's paid to spray and kill the bugs more than he ever had in all his other years combined.

Goodwin has 500 acres just north of Edenton. The fields closest to a potato farm were hardest hit.

Northeastern North Carolina's plethora of potato farms allows for the plant bug to thrive and then move on to cotton.

A rare, soaking rain provided a reprieve for Goodwin from worrying about the next wave of plant bugs.

“They're really hard to find. And that's a good thing,” says Goodwin.

He hopes it stays that way and the costly plant bugs and expensive sprays to wipe them out are a thing of the past.