Subject: Mystery Beetle
Location: Deatsville, Alabama
October 12, 2013 2:23 pm
I was watering my potted gardenia tree and when I rinsed down the leaves a swarm of these took to the air. I couldn’t find a match for them in any bug book I had, nor via googling them on the internet. They aren’t very big, about 1/4 of an inch. For size comparison, one of the pictures was taken on my screen door; the mesh being regular screen mesh. They do fly, but they don’t appear to bite. The gardenia seems to have suffered no damage but I’m not sure having swarms of these critters on any plant can be good?
The reason you could not locate the Lablab Bug or Kudzu Bug, Megacopta cribraria, in your bug books is that it is a recently introduced, exotic species that feeds on Kudzu, however it does not limit itself to Kudzu. Since the Lablab Bug is a True Bug with piercing mouthparts designed to suck fluids, you would not notice typical damage like chewed leaves, but a large number of individuals feeding on the same plant could seriously compromise it.
Thank you for getting back to me about this bug. I can understand now why I couldn’t find it in any of my bug/insect books. It sure doesn’t sound like a helpful garden bug; quite the contrary. I don’t know why it fell in love with my gardenia, but I’ll be keeping a close eye on the plant and discouraging further infestation, Apparently these critters do not like being hosed down with a water hose 😉