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Kudzu Bug: An Approaching Pest Species

Posted: July 9, 2013

Keep an eye out for another invasive bug species in soybeans and elsewhere.
Fig. 1. Kudzu bugs on soybeans.  Photo from bugwood.org, by J. Greene, Clemson Univ.

Fig. 1. Kudzu bugs on soybeans. Photo from bugwood.org, by J. Greene, Clemson Univ.

For the pest four or five years, farmers and homeowners in Pennsylvania and the rest of the Mid-Atlantic region have gotten to know the brown marmorated stink bug. This pest species was accidentally introduced around Allentown in the 1990s, and has since spread out of our area to much of the country.

As bad luck would have it, the region is about to get to know another invasive stink bug species. The new beast is known as bean platasipid (Megacopta cribraria), but is commonly referred to as kudzu bug for its tendency to feed upon kudzu, an exotic invasive weed common in the southern US. When kudzu bug feeds upon kudzu, it can be considered a beneficial species, but in the southeastern US kudzu bug has become a serious pest of soybeans. This stink bug species is much smaller than brown marmorated stink bug and an obviously different shape (Fig. 1), but like brown marmorated stink bug it also can overwinter in homes and other buildings. This stink bug species was discovered in Georgia in 2009 and has since spread through out the southeast and is heading north. Most recently it has been discovered in Sussex County, Delaware and four counties in Maryland (Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, and Prince George’s counties). We fear it will be discovered in Pennsylvania soon and are asking folks to keep an watchful eye and let us know if you find something that looks like it. We need to document its presence and let Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture confirm its identity.

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Contact Information

John Tooker
  • Extension Specialist
Phone: 814-865-7082