Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Plataspid (Kudzu) Bug in Alabama

Surveys of kudzu were conducted in Lee, Chambers, Randolph, Cleburne and Cherokee counties on October 26, 2010, and no kudzu bugs were observed. These particular counties were selected for surveys since they are adjacent to Georgia counties where the bug has been reported.

However, when I arrived back in my office on October 27, 2010, I had an email from Dr. Charles Ray, Auburn University Plant Diagnostic Lab, reporting a single find, an adult plataspid (collected Oct. 23) on kudzu in northern Cleburne county. To our knowledge this is the first find in Alabama.

This insect, a native to Asia, was first reported in October 2009 in nine northeast Georgia counties near Athens, Georgia. Since that time they have spread to more than 60 north and central Georgia counties as well as most South Carolina counties and a couple in North Carolina.

The adults are 4-6 mm long, oblong, olive-green colored, and produce a mildly offensive odor when disturbed. In the fall this bug attempts to overwinter in houses, churches and other structures. Therefore, they become a nuisance pest as they congregate on walls and windows of buildings.

During the spring and summer they feed on kudzu and were observed in heavy numbers on soybeans in 2010. They are known to feed on legumes in general. No damage was observed or measured on soybeans. Dr. Phillip Roberts conducted several control trials and found that a number of our row crop insecticides gave good control.