The kudzu bug (Figure 1) is an invasive pest of soybeans in many southern states, such as Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arkansas, and Alabama. Kudzu bug was introduced from Asia and was first reported in northeastern Georgia in 2009. It is the only species of the family Plataspidae in America. Initial yield losses on soybeans of up to 47% were recorded in Georgia in 2011. Since then, several pyrethroids insecticides (e.g. Brigade, Hero) have provided effective control. A thorough coverage and penetration of the canopy is critical for effective control.
First Report in Lyon County
On July 1, 2017, Susan Fox, Lyon County Extension agent, found a kudzu bug (Megacopta cribaria) while walking on a bike trail in the Lyon County section of The Land Between The Lakes. Later, on July 5th, more specimens were found in a site near the city of Eddyville in the same county. These are the first reports of kudzu bug in the Land Between the Lakes (confirmed by a US Forest Service employee) and for Lyon County.
Presence in Other Kentucky Counties
In Kentucky, Dr. Doug Johnson found Kudzu bugs in five counties (Christian, Laurel, Bell, Whitley, and Perry) in 2015. While in 2016, Villanueva (unpublished) found this pest in 8 counties (Ballard, Graves, Calloway, Monroe, Cumberland, Clinton, Wayne and McCreary). To this date there are 14 counties where kudzu bug was found in Kentucky (Figure 2), including Lyon County.
The Trouble with Kudzu Bug
In addition to becoming a potential pest of soybeans and other legumes, kudzu bugs look for sheltered places to overwinter; thus they may become a nuisance for residences and other structures. Their behavior can be troublesome for people, cause allergies, and stain walls.
By Raul T. Villanueva, Extension Entomologist and Susan Fox, County Extension Agent for Agriculture/Natural Resources