A new bug that feeds on kudzu and also represents a threat to soybeans and other legumes has been found in North Carolina, say N.C. Cooperative Extension personnel. The bean plataspid, related to stink bugs, was sighted by Georgia entomologists recently when they inadvertently crossed over into Macon County, N.C., from their investigations at the Georgian border.
This is the first time the bug has been seen in North Carolina although researchers have been investigating the pest in Georgia since 2009. The pest has also been seen in a number of South Carolina counties this year, too, likely migrating to both Carolinas from an initial hotspot near Athens, Georgia.
In North Carolina the bean plataspid has only been spotted so far on kudzu but in South Carolina it has been discovered on both kudzu and soybeans. Researchers note it is the first plataspid species reported in North America. This species is well documented in the Far East however, where it is taken as a serious and economically significant pest.
The speed at which the bean plataspid has spread from NE Georgia to other locations is concerning. Clemson has called for farmers who run across the bug, which looks much like a small but fat stink bug, to report their findings to Clemson Extension.