Invasive Species: Megacopta cribraria, Bean Plataspid
Megacopta cribraria, a recently introduced insect, quickly demonstrated its invasive potential. From its discovery in October 2009 in nine Georgia counties, it had spread to four Southern U.S. states by the end of 2011. Its potential range in the United States still is not known. M. cribraria is a type of bean plataspid that feeds mainly on plants in the legume family, including invasive plants such as kudzu, Chinese wisteria, and Japanese wisteria. M. cribraria already has been shown to cause significant damage to soybeans and other bean crops in the legume family. The species also becomes a nuisance to homeowners when winter approaches and high numbers of the insect look for places to overwinter. The species’ presence in Georgia was first noticed because large numbers were found on the warm, sunlit walls of homes in the original nine Georgia counties. Calls from distressed homeowners to pest control and Cooperative Extension Service agents prompted further investigation of the unusual insect. The vast areas covered with kudzu across the Southeastern United States ensure that this insect has a place to breed and overwinter, making its control and eradication by using traditional pest control practices difficult.
M. cribraria adults are 0.16 to 0.24 in. (4 to 6 mm) long, oblong, and brown to olive-green, with small darker-colored speckles. They are nearly hemispherically shaped, with the posterior end flattened. This flattened end can be used as a characteristic to help differentiate them from similar-looking native insect species (most of the similar native insects have a rounded posterior end). M. cribraria can exude a chemical that not only smells bad but also can stain surfaces and cause skin irritations in susceptible individuals. Use caution when handling these insects, and avoid crushing them to reduce the risk of their releasing the chemical.
Taxonomy: Scientific and Common Names for This Species
Heteroptera > Plataspidae > Megacopta cribraria (Fabricius)
Synonyms: kudzu bug, lablab bug, globular stink bug
Megacopta cribraria – The reported distribution of this invasive species across the United States (Source: EDDMapS)
Reporting This Invasive Species
How to report an invasive species sighting to EDDMapS – Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System
EDDMapS – Report an invasive species to EDDMapS.
County Extension Offices – Find your county Extension office on this map provided by USDA.
How to Identify
This invasive species can be identified by looking for the characteristics described in the paragraphs that follow.
The M. cribraria adults are 0.16 to 0.24 in. (4 to 6 mm) long, oblong, and brown to olive-green, with darker colored speckles. They are nearly hemispherically shaped, with the posterior end flattened. This flattened end is the main feature that can be used to help differentiate them from similar native insect species. (Similar native insects have a rounded posterior end.)
|Daniel R. Suiter, University of Georgia, bugwood.org||Daniel R. Suiter, University of Georgia, bugwood.org|
|Jeremy Greene, Clemson University, bugwood.org||Jeremy Greene, Clemson University, bugwood.org|
|John Ruberson, University of Georgia, bugwood.org||John Ruberson, University of Georgia, bugwood.org|
|Jeremy Greene, Clemson University, bugwood.org||Paul Smith, University of Georgia, bugwood.org|
Native Insect Species That Resemble M. cribraria
Charidotella sexpunctata, golden tortoise beetle – Images at invasive.org
|Clemson University – USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series, bugwood.org||Johnny N. Dell, bugwood.org|
Calligrapha spp., calligrapha beetles – Images at invasive.org
|David Cappaert, Michigan State University, bugwood.org||Susan Ellis, bugwood.org|
Cryptocephalus irroratus, leaf beetle – Images at invasive.org
|Natasha Wright, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, bugwood.org||
Natasha Wright, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, bugwood.org
Additional Images for Megacopta cribraria
Megacopta cribraria – Images at invasive.org
Learning Resources for Megacopta cribraria
Video: Kudzu Bug Spreads Across the Southeast – University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Additional Information, Biology, Control and Management Resources
Control and management recommendations vary according to individual circumstances. Location, habitat, weather, and a variety of other conditions are factors that help determine the best treatment choice. To find the safest and most effective treatment for your situation, consult your state’s land-grant institution. If you will use chemicals as part of the control process, always refer to the product label.
United States Land Grant University System – Find your Land Grant University’s College of Agriculture, University Cooperative Extension Service, or other related partner on this map provided by USDA.
Discovery and distribution of Megacopta cribraria (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Plataspidae) in Northeast Georgia – Journal of Integrated Pest Management
Kudzu Bug Alert – University of Georgia (UGA) Center for Urban Agriculture
Invasives Database – TexasInvasives.org
Pest Alert – Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Kudzu Bug – A Nuisance and an Agricultural Pest – North Carolina State University
Megacopta cribraria as a nuisance pest – UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Fact Sheet – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ)