Originally published June 25, 2013
The kudzu bug has been found in Madison Parish, La., near Mound by consultant Lee Oliver. This is the first documented occurrence of this pest in the state of Louisiana. Please see below for more information on this pest.
Kudzu bugs, or bean plataspid, are small, oval-shaped insects native to India and China. Adults are ¼ inch in diameter and vary from brown to green in color. Kudzu bug egg clusters are oviposited in double rows, appearing as tipped over barrels, and are beige in color. Nymphs of this pest are oval-shaped, light green in color and covered in setae (hairs). Adults and immature kudzu bugs are primarily found on the stems of soybean plants using their piercing/sucking mouthparts to extract plant fluids. Kudzu bugs take approximately six weeks to complete one generation on kudzu and often complete a second generation on soybeans.
Kudzu bugs are polyphagous feeders and will feed on kudzu, wisteria, soybeans and other legumes. During the fall, large numbers of kudzu bugs seek overwintering habitats around structures including shrubs, leaf litter, and crevices around homes. Unlike most insect pests in Louisiana, kudzu bugs will congregate around window seals, doorframes and gutters and are attracted to white colored objects. Body secretions from this insect have a foul odor, stain walls and fabrics and, if handled directly, can stain the skin and cause discomfort.
Based on research from the University of Georgia, kudzu bugs appear to be more attracted to early-planted soybeans between the R2 and R3 growth stages and tend to have the largest populations in fields with neonicotinoid seed treatments. Field invasions often occur from the outer margins and gradually spread across the entire field. Damage from this insect stresses and weakens soybean plants resulting in smaller seeds and fewer pods per plant. Preliminary data from the University of Georgia and Clemson University indicate average yield losses of 18%. This damage is often exaggerated by dry conditions. Although kudzu bugs have piercing/sucking mouth parts, this insect is primarily a stem and foliage feeder not a pod feeder. Dr. Jeremy Greene, from Clemson University, demonstrates how to sample for kudzu bugs and the amounts that can be captured using a sweep net http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-9gqL8kce4.
Kudzu bugs take weeks to migrate into soybeans and chemical control options should not be used until nymphs are detected. Research from the University of Georgia indicates that these insects are easily controlled with insecticides presently used in soybean IPM programs and require large numbers to inflict damage. Preliminary action thresholds have been set at one nymph per sweep or high numbers of adults. Research conducted by Drs. Philip Roberts and Jaye Whitaker from the University of Georgia demonstrated insecticide efficacy against kudzu bugs in soybean.
With the kudzu bug now in Louisiana, it is important for producers and consultants to be informed on the effects and control options for this pest.
For more information or if you have any questions or concerns please contact Sebe Brown, or Drs. Jeff Davis, David Kerns or Julien Beuzelin.
Sebe Brown Cell: 318-498-1283 Office: 318-435-2903
Dr. David Kerns Cell: 318-439-4844 Office: 318-435-2157
Dr. Julien Beuzelin Cell: 337-501-7087 Office: 318-473-6523
Dr. Jeff Davis Cell: 225-747-0351 Office: 225-578-5618
Kudzu Bug Adult and Nymphs: Photo by UGA
Large numbers of kudzu bugs captured in a sweep net. Photo by Clemson University
Kudzu Bug Control Options