The invasion of the Asian kudzu bug (also known as the bean plataspid or Megacopta cribraria) from southern states into the mid-Atlantic region is proceeding, and has been detected in Maryland. Funded by the Maryland Soybean Board, the Lamp Lab is conducting surveys in Maryland counties for the kudzu bug. Our goal is to provide early detection of the bug in Maryland, and to help farmers and homeowners prepare for this potential pest. Click HERE to find out how you can get involved and help.

Current known distribution of kudzu bug in Maryland counties

 

Natural History

Kudzu vine Photo by: Alan Leslie, University of Maryland

Kudzu vine

Photo by: Alan Leslie, University of Maryland

Since first being detected in Georgia in 2009, the kudzu bug has spread to 8 states in the Southeast United States. Exotic and invasive kudzu vines are the primary host of this insect, and the proliferation of kudzu through the southeast has helped the insect to spread so quickly.

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Identifying Marks

Adult kudzu bug Photo by: Alan Leslie, University of Maryland

Adult kudzu bug

Photo by: Alan Leslie, University of Maryland

Kudzu bugs are the only species of the insect family Plataspidae to have been introduced to North America. They are small (3.5 - 6 mm long) with a distinctive mottled pattern, and will give off an odor similar to stink bugs when disturbed. 

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Potential Impacts

Soybean plants Photo by: Bill Lamp, University of Maryland

Soybean plants

Photo by: Bill Lamp, University of Maryland

In southern states, kudzu bugs will move from kudzu vines into soybean fields where their feeding can cause economic damage to the crop. Also, adult bugs will often gather on the exterior of buildings in the fall just prior to winter hibernation. Our research will help to determine whether Maryland farms and homes are at risk.

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