Injury and Pest Symptoms

Injury and Pest Symptoms

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

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

    Pest Facts of the Kudzu Bug

    • 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
    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

    Life History of Kudzu bug

    • 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


    Kudzu bug nymph

    Kudzu bug nymph (photo above)

    Kudzu bug eggs

    Kudzu bug eggs (photo above)

    Brown stem lesions on soybean plants caused by kudzu bugs

    Brown stem lesions caused by kudzu bugs - (photo above)

    Integrated Pest Management Practices

    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)