Kudzu Bug Confirmed in 34 North Carolina Counties

PLEASE NOTE that this blog post was first created in 2011.  If you are a homeowner looking for information on the kudzu bug, please read this post (click here).

Kudzu bug (a.k.a. bean plataspid, Megacopta cribraria Fabricus, Fig. 1) was first confirmed in 19 North Carolina counties this week (Fig. 2) thanks to a gargantuan sampling effort by Dr. Jack Bacheler and Dan Mott.  Most of the recent finds have been from kudzu, but it is found on a variety of legumes, with soybean as its main agronomic host.

Kudzu bug moved into soybean fields in South Carolina this week, some of which were flowering.  We should expect to see this insect on soybeans in our state very soon.  So far, kudzu bug has been relatively easy to kill with insecticides (except with neonicotinoids), but will often reinvade.  A preliminary economic threshold, based on Georgia data, is one bug per sweep with large nymphs present, or three bugs per plant with large nymphs present.  This is the threshold that we will be using in our state until more information is gathered.  Like stink bugs, this insect seems to invade the field edges first, so be sure to scout entire fields.

Fig. 1.  Kudzu bug adults (in the two pictures on the left) and nymphs (picture on the right).  Images from J. Greene.




Fig. 2.  Confirmed kudzu bug distribution.  Image from Wayne Gardner.



Information for homeowners can be found here.  We are tracking this pest and would appreciate if you would contact me ( Dominic_reisig “at” ncsu.edu, (252) 793-4428 x133) if you find this pest in a non-confirmed county (as this post is from 2011, you can find the most recent information on the distribution click here).   If you could also provide GPS coordinates, as well as the plant on which it was found, it would enhance our ability to respond to this new threat.  Please use caution not to spread this pest from field to field if you find this pest.

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Kudzu Bug Confirmed in 34 North Carolina Counties — 30 Comments

  1. I live just across the state line in Pageland, SC. These bugs are not just on Kudzu and soybeans. They have eaten the leaves on my mama’s dogwood until they died and fell off. They are on several bushes ( on the stems and leaves) in my yard and on my oak trees. I suspect they will ruin my beautiful colors for the fall, as my oak leaves have numerous holes and are turning brown. I think it is improtant that you know everything they are eating, although, I understand the implication to farm crops are much greater. Thanks for you time.

  2. Just to let you know that these “kudzu bugs” are in Rutherford County, NC. I have millions of them on any given plant in my yard~ wisteria trees, baby’s breath bush, pear trees, crepe myrtles, mock orange bush, holly bushes, gardenia’s, hostas, cherry tree, honeysuckle, yellow bell bushes, rose bushes and all over the house, car and garage! What a problem these bugs are becoming. I have used Sevin spray in a hand held pump sprayer and am having good results. I still have millions of them, but I killed a few million yesterday and today!

  3. we are in rutherford county, NC on the border of SC. we are new to the area, but we didnt see these last spring – we absolutely have an infestation of the kudzu beetle this year!

  4. I’m in Holly Ridge, NC which is in Onslow Co 1/4 mile from intercoastal. I discovered
    millions of these little beetles on my wisteria last night. Just found this site to identify the bugs. Definately looks like an infestation!

  5. I am in Maple Hill NC which is also in Onslow county. They are covering my house front. I have ferns and some potted plants. They are everywhere. My neighbors too. It has become an invasion in less then a week.ugh!!?

  6. We are in New Hanover County and have thousands of them on everything from roses to lemons and the house. They are everywhere!

  7. Hi…
    We have been invaded with these bugs. I live off Village Point Road in Shallotte, NC. This is in Brunswick County which, according to your map, has not had a confirmed case. The longitude and latitude are 33° 54′ N / 78° 22′ W. They have invaded our ornamental plants and our Fig Tree. The fig tree is covered in them. I used the pesticide Cypermethrin today on them to see if I can control them.

    Any advice?

  8. We have an infestation of nymphs in our back yard. No adults seen so far. We live in Brunswick County, Lockwood Folly, near the marsh, about three miles east of Holden Beach. The nymphs swarmed on a Wisteria plant and were mostly killed by Raid flying insect spray. I will use a pump sprayer with Sevin tomorrow (5-1-2012)
    They are difficult to squash, and one gave me a test bite.
    I assume that the eggs were laid last year, since several thousand appeared so quickly.
    Control advice would be appreciated – we have a large garden.

    • Sorry to hear that. Check out the first sentence of this post…

  9. Last week my 2 fig trees were fine, two days ago- the stems were COVERED with kudzu beetles, both trees infested – looks like over a million bugs per tree! Didn’t have any last year. I live in New Hanover County, NC. A few homes down from me the woods is full of kudzu….Pests!! How disappointing. Hate to spray insecticide on them since I like to eat the figs! I checked out the entire yard, they just like the fig trees.

  10. I too have recently been invaded…i live in north sampson where it borders wayne and johnston counties…my fig bushes never looked better until two weeks ago…tried the soapy water trick without luck…hate to use insecticide since we enjoy eating the figs. Would like to know what to do to eradicate…we are on a family farm and are surrounded by row crops. They have not infested the crops yet…soybeans will go in after the wheat is harvested so I’ll be watching.

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  12. Had them about a month ago in rural Lenoir County. Then Sandy came along with the cooler weather, and I thought they were gone. Today is the first warm day since then, and they’re back–and just as bad. I thought they were supposed to be ‘overwintering’? What is up with these things?

    • They are overwintering, but become active when it is warm outside. Overwintering is different than hibernating (diapause). Once it consistently cools down, they won’t be really active until we warm up in late winter or spring.

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  14. I live in Scotland County and my wisteria was covered in them this past summer. I noticed a little group of them in a tight corner of one of my kitchen walls several months ago. Luckily, I removed them, but don’t know if they are lurking somewhere else in the house. Can I get rid of them when they reappear in the spring or do I have to cut down my wisteria vines?

    • They will reappear in the spring. Most are likely overwintering around your yard. They especially like to harbor behind pine bark. Wisteria is a host that they can reproduce on. You can expect to find more bugs on the vines this spring.

  15. I live in Stokes County and my plants are smothered with these bugs. Seems like the more I kill off the more there are.

  16. Got’em
    here in Wilmington, just south of Monkey Junction. Them seem to be targeting one of my 6 gardenias??

    • Probably just passing through. They’ll congregate on any number of things, but don’t feed or reproduce on most. Rest assured they will move on.

  17. I live in Mount Airy N.C. in Surry County. We have had these bugs for weeks and didn’t know exactly what they were until now. My porch and house has been covered in these pest! We can’t even walk inside without them clinging to you. It’s awful!! Please HELP!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Need help! We are in Calhoun Co AL, Anniston. They are all over my speckled butter beans. We have fought them the last two years in our yard but they are worse this year. I had one land on my eye lid leaving an irritating spot for over 3 days that turned brown. What can I do to get them off my plants? They are killing them.

    • Billie-Jo, you could try a pyrethroid insecticide. Look for something that ends in “thrin” when you are looking at the active chemical ingredients on the shelf (many different trade names).

  19. I am in Sanford, nc and the kudzu bugs are all over my front porch. We had killed several but they keep comíng back. The only thing in our front yard in hedges. I have no plants or flowers on my porch. They are creeping me out. What do I need to do. Do they bite people one was on my neck. Thank you.

    • Unfortunately there is not much you can do. They are not after you, but would like to take residence in the crevices of your house. You home is likely a good protected overwintering site for them. They don’t bite, but if you crush them, they will leave a stinky caustic chemical on you. This site has some good information that might help you http://kudzubug.org/

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