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Kudzu Bug

In-Depth Downloads

Injury and Pest Symptoms

Kudzu bug nymphs
Kudzu bug nymphs

  • Adults prefer to infest 8- to 10-inch soybeans at field edge
  • Kudzu bugs have piercing-sucking mouthparts
  • Kudzu bugs feed on stems and leaves, not pods
  • Feeding induces stress on soybeans
    • Creates brown lesions on stems
    • Reduces pods per plant
    • Reduces seeds per pod
    • Reduces seed size
  • "Honeydew" excretions cause sooty mold on leaves
  • Hundreds of adults and nymphs may occur on a single soybean plant
  • Large populations cause "green stem syndrome" and delay soybean maturity
  • Average soybean yield loss of 18% (range 0 to 47%) was measured in Georgia and South Carolina
  • Adults will fly from early-maturity to late-maturity soybeans in late summer

Adult Kudzu bugs
Adult kudzu bugs

Pest Status and Importance

  • Can be an economic pest of soybean in Georgia and South Carolina and possibly neighboring states
  • Soybean yield losses average 18% in Georgia and South Carolina
  • Expected to spread into many areas where kudzu grows

Pest Facts

  • Common names: kudzu bug, bean plataspid
  • Latin name: Megacopta cribraria, family Plataspidae
  • Description
    • Adults are shiny, 3.5 to 6 mm (< ¼ inch) long, brown to olive green in color with lighter freckled spots; eyes are red; tail end is broadly rounded
    • Produces a mildly offensive odor when disturbed
    • Nymphs are greenish brown with long hairs

Photo: Adult Kudzu bug
Adult kudzu bug

  • Similar species:
    • Adult stink bugs are > 3/8" with pointed posterior
  • Origin and distribution:
    • Native to eastern Asia and India
    • Invasive pest species in the U.S.
    • First detected in Hoschton, Ga. in October, 2009
    • In 2011, found in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia

Life History

  • Adults become active in February in Georgia
  • Reproduces on kudzu and soybean
  • Adults known to fly 1½ miles from kudzu to soybean
  • Females lay 26 to 274 eggs
  • Development time from egg to adult is 24 to 56 days
  • Adult longevity in summer is 23 to 77 days
  • 2 to 3 generations occur per year
  • Population peaks during September in Georgia
  • Adults are attracted to tall, light-colored surfaces such as houses
  • Adults are not attracted to lights
  • Adults overwinter in leaf litter and under bark

Photo: Kudzu bug nymph
Kudzu bug nymph (photo above)
Photo: Kudzu bug eggs
Kudzu bug eggs (photo above)
Photo: Brown stem lesions on soybean plants caused by kudzu bugs
Brown stem lesions caused by kudzu bugs - (photo above)

IPM Practices

  • Planting
    • The southeastern U.S. is where soybeans are most likely to have economic damage
    • Soybeans do not have to be adjacent to kudzu to be infested
  • Insecticide seed treatments
    • Efficacy of seed treatments on early-season populations is unknown
  • Scouting
    • Action threshold of “adults present and 1 nymph per sweep” has been suggested by university entomologists to initiate insecticide sprays
  • Insecticides
    • Several – but not all – pyrethroids typically provide better efficacy than organophosphates
    • Contact your state extension entomologist for a list of recommended insecticides

 

Photos and Text
Marlin E. Rice, Pioneer Hi-Bred International
Reviewed by G. David Buntin and Phillip M. Roberts (University of Georgia), and Herb Eichenseer (Pioneer)

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