The kudzu bug (Megacopta cribraria) is a recent pest to South Carolina. The kudzu bug, a close relative of the stink bug, was first seen in Georgia in October of 2009. These pests have spread to other southern states as well. The large number of kudzu bugs and the foul odor attributed to their secretions make them to nuisance around buildings and other structures.
The kudzu bug is most active during the spring when they feed upon kudzu, wisteria, soybeans and many other bean plants. Two generations of kudzu bugs are hatched each year. The first generation typically develops on the kudzu plant while the second generation develops on the other bean plants in the insects’ diet. During the winter, kudzu bugs seek leaf-litter and small crevices, often around homes and other buildings. Kudzu bugs cause millions of dollars in soybean crop losses each year.
The kudzu bug has an oblong shape, rounded much like a ladybug. The adults have an olive-green casing with brown speckles. Adults are 3.5 to 6 millimeters long and can produce an offensive odor or stain the skin when disturbed. Young kudzu bugs have a similar shape as the adult bugs.
Chemical and non-chemical controls are available for the regulation of kudzu bugs. For more information, contact your local Clemson University Cooperative Extension service.