Lablab Bug or Kudzu Bug

Subject: Bug ID
Location: Oxford, Mississippi
April 16, 2015 1:25 pm
Found two of these crawling on me.
Signature: Luke

Lablab Bug or Kudzu Bug
Lablab Bug or Kudzu Bug

Dear Luke,
This is a Lablab Bug or Kudzu Bug,
Megacopta cribraria, an invasive and recently introduced species that is spreading throughout the south.  We decided to do a bit more historical research on this species, and our first citation is from the Atlanta Journal Constitution website which states:  “Best anyone can tell, the scourge began in Hoschton in 2009. A pest-control guy had samples from a house a-crawl with odd little bugs. They were brown and ugly and smelled bad, sort of like ladybugs dipped in something a dog would roll in.  The pest-control guy had never seen anything like them, so he slipped a few dead ones in a vial of alcohol. He gave them to an entomologist at the University of Georgia, who was equally perplexed.  He showed the mystery insects to Joe Eger, another entomologist who stopped by the UGA professor’s office to say hello. Eger is an expert on stinkbugs.  Intrigued, Eger visited the Hoschton house where the bugs turned up. He traced the hordes of unwanted visitors to a nearby tangle of kudzu. Thus did Megacopta cribaria officially debut. Since its discovery four years ago, it’s been discussed and cussed, researched and reviled. It’s the object of inquiry in laboratories from Griffin to Missoula, Mont. It’s the kudzu bug. With spring on the horizon, swarms of them ought to be out in force soon.”  The Bug of the Week site reports:  “As a foodie fond of invasive kudzu, some might herald the arrival of the bug as a blessing, but this bug has a darker side. In addition to kudzu, one of Maryland’s most important crops, soybeans, is also on the menu. Soybean growers in infested states have already reported important losses associated with kudzu bug.  This critter has sucking mouthparts that, once inserted into the leaves and stems, rob the soybean of its nutritious sap. The removal of these vital fluids can significantly reduce yields. In addition to kudzu and soybeans, wisteria, a widely planted and naturalized ornamental plant, also serves as a competent source of food.”  The North Carolina State University Residential, Structural and Community Pests site states:  “As temperatures and day length decline, kudzu bugs seek out sheltered areas where they can pass the winter, such as under bark or rocks, or in leaf litter, etc. They are most common along the edges of kudzu patches and soybean fields and in areas near residential areas, we can expect to see them invade homes simiilar to the behavior of another nuisance pest – the Asian lady beetle. The bugs will often congregate on light-colored surfaces (such as siding, fascia boards, etc.).”  The site also provides a link to a map that illustrates the expanded range of the Lablab Bug in the south.  While the Lablab Bug poses no direct dangerous threat to humans, they are an invasive species, a serious threat to the agricultural industry, and a troublesome nuisance when they invade homes.

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