Bean Plataspid Pest Alert

Printer Friendly Version (PDF)

J. McLeod Scott
Home & Garden Information Center

In October 2009, the bean plataspid (Megacopta cribraria) (also known as the globular stink bug, lablab bug and now, kudzu bug) was identified for the first time in the Western Hemisphere in nine counties in northeast Georgia. Initially, the bugs were found congregating on homes which had nearby patches of kudzu (Pueraria spp.). Since that time, their presence has been confirmed in 16 counties in South Carolina, more than 75 counties in Georgia and one county in North Carolina.

female bean plataspid laying eggs
Female bean plataspid laying eggs on soybean leaf.
Jeremy Greene, ©2010 Clemson University

Prior to its appearance in Georgia, this invasive species had been reported in India, China, Japan, Australia and several other countries in that area of the world. In its native habitat, it is considered an economically important pest of legumes (especially soybeans), but has also been reported on various non-leguminous plants, including sweet potato, rice, wheat, citrus, potato and others. The major concern in SC is for its potential to become a pest on soybeans, a high-value commodity crop (grossing $139 million per year). Alternatively, because of its feeding behavior on kudzu, there is the potential benefit of it being useful as a biological control for this invasive weed.

bean plataspid nymphs on kudzu
Bean plataspid nymphs (immature stages) on kudzu.
Jeremy Greene, ©2010 Clemson University.

Description

The adult bean plataspid has a somewhat rounded body with speckled coloration of light brown to olive green and is about ¼ inch in length. It is a strong flyer and has needlelike mouthparts that it uses for piercing and sucking. Bean plataspids are related to stink bugs and like those insects, emit a foul odor when disturbed.

Nuisance Pests

As mentioned previously, the bean plataspids were first noticed because they were congregating in large numbers on the sides of homes. As temperatures cool in the fall, various insects (Asian lady beetles, boxelder bugs, and now, bean plataspids) congregate on buildings, especially light-colored structures, where they look for places to survive the winter. As a result of this behavior, they become a nuisance to the home dweller.

bean plataspids swarming a home
Bean plataspids swarming a house.
Daniel R. Suiter, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

Control

As with other seasonal pests, the best control is to make sure that they cannot enter the home. Make sure that screens are in good repair and fit securely. Doors and windows should form a tight seal. Vents to the attic should be screened. Openings where wires and pipes enter a structure should be checked and caulked or filled with expanding foam, if needed.

If the number of insects on the outside of the home becomes too much of a nuisance, an insecticide labeled for outdoor insect control on structures can be applied. However, if kudzu is nearby, the likelihood is that more bean plataspids will take their place. As with all pesticides, be sure to read the entire label and follow all directions and precautions.

If the insects find their way indoors, do not crush them as they will release an unpleasant smell and may stain fabric, wallpaper and painted surfaces. The best solution is to remove them with a vacuum and then place the vacuum bag in a sealed plastic bag and discard in an outdoor trash bin. Insecticides are not recommended for control of bean plataspids once they enter a home.

Page maintained by: Home & Garden Information Center

This information is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service is implied. All recommendations are for South Carolina conditions and may not apply to other areas. Use pesticides only according to the directions on the label. All recommendations for pesticide use are for South Carolina only and were legal at the time of publication, but the status of registration and use patterns are subject to change by action of state and federal regulatory agencies. Follow all directions, precautions and restrictions that are listed.