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Kudzu Bug (Megacopta cribraria)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Kudzu Bug.


 Updated: 12/4/2013; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org



  Kudzu Bug  
Picture of Kudzu-Bug


The invasive Kudzu Bug helps eat the invasive Kudzu vine, but it is not stopping there.





The Kudzu Bug is an Asian import that has helped curb the growth of the plant-suffocating Kudzu vine, which also originates from Asia. Southeastern U.S. states like Georgia have been decimated by the Kudzu vine as its rapid, blanket-like growth over shrubs and trees ends up starving the native plants to death. The Kudzu bug sucks the plant juices from the vine, starving it to death. Large populations of Kudzu Bugs have effectively destroyed large swaths of Kudzu vine.

The Kudzu Bug, however, is being carefully watched. There is concern that it may start eating other plants in addition to the Kudzu vine. Soybean crops and other legumes, like peanuts, are being monitored. Such potential cash crop decimation would be disastrous economically.

The USDA is currently researching the effectiveness of importing the Kudzu Bug's natural enemy, a parasitic wasp, to the U.S.. Before such an import is made, much research is performed to ensure the wasp does not become a pest as well.

Kudzu Bugs can emit a strong, foul-smelling odor when bothered. The Kudzu Bug is a social insect and forms large congregations, making its chemical emissions quite noxious to humans. These cluster tend to be attracted to light colored buildings, including homes. While they do not destroy buildings, they can seek shelter inside the walls of them, which can bring the odor indoors. Crushing them not only emits the odor, the chemical components of it may cause skin irritation. Their bodies also tend to leave a stain on the wall or surface. General pesticides have been effective in killing them, but large infestations may require a professional exterminator.

The Kudzu Bug is a member of the Shield bug family and its body is somewhat round, giving it a resemblance to lady bugs, although its overall shape is broader at the bottom and less spherical. Some would say the shape is more akin to a shield. It also has a small plate in the middle of its back, above the elytra (wing coverings).

Females lay rows of small, white capsule-like eggs on the bottom of leaves. The nymphs (juveniles) have similar body shapes to adults, but the coloring and presence of hairy spines might lead one to think they are a different insect.
Basic Information
Common Name: Kudzu Bug
Other Name(s): Lablab Bug, Globular Stink Bug, Bean Plataspid
Scientific Name: Megacopta cribraria
Category: True Bug


General Identification
Size (Adult; Length): 3mm to 6mm (0.12in to 0.23in)
Colorwheel Graphic
Identifying Colors: green, brown, black
Additional Descriptors: harmful, stinky, smelly, round




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Family: Plataspididae
Genus: Megacopta
Species: cribraria




Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed below as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections below indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
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Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico


Territorial Area Map (Visual Reference Guide)
The map below showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Kudzu Bug may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data can be useful in seeing concentrations of a particular species over the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some species are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America.
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
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Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
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Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic


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