Megacopta cribraria, also called the bean plataspid, kudzu bug, kudzu beetle, globular stink bug or lablab bug, is a shield bug native to India and China, where it is an agricultural pest of lablab beans and other legumes. The bug, while harmless to houseplants and people, often enters houses. It is attracted to white surfaces such as the walls of houses or white vehicles, where large numbers of the insects congregate. As a defense mechanism, they will spray a foul smelling liquid. Aside from smelling foul, the liquid also creates a burning sensation and leaves a red welt on bare skin.
It is similar to other Plataspididae in having a somewhat unusual symbiotic relationship with its gut bacteria. Before laying eggs, females deposit particles containing the symbiont, which are then eaten by newly hatched nymphs under natural conditions. Nymphs experimentally deprived of access to the symbiont exhibited slower growth, smaller body sizes and higher mortality.
The bean plataspid gives off an offensive odor when touched, squashed or poked. Hosted by wisteria, green beans and other legumes, the insect sucks juice from the stems of soybean plants and reduces crop yield. However, when the insect infests kudzu, another invasive species, it appreciably reduces the growth of that plant.
Southeastern United States
In the southeastern United States M. cribraria is an invasive pest species, and was first noticed in northeastern Georgia in 2009. As of 2012, it was spreading rapidly into the surrounding states of Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. It has recently begun to invade Maryland as well.
- Dowdy, Sharon (November 10, 2009). "Bug found in Georgia a threat to soybeans?". Southeast Farm Press. Retrieved August 29, 2011.
- Dowdy, Sharon (Aug 29, 2011). "Kudzu bug spreading rapidly across Southern states". Southeast Farm Press. Retrieved Aug 29, 2011.
- Horn, Scott, and James L. Hanula (January 2011). "Influence of Trap Color on Collection of the Recently-Introduced Bean Plataspid, Megacopta cribraria (Hemiptera: Plataspidae)". Journal of Entomological Science (Note) 46 (1): 85–87.
- Megacopta cribraria as a Nuisance Pest
- Species Megacopta cribraria - Bean Plataspid on Bugguide.Net
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- Megacopta cribraria on the UF / IFAS Featured Creatures Web site
- New stinkbug could be ready to invade Pennsylvania-11/5/13