Kudzu Bug Impact

by Myer Runyon, Sustainable Plant Systems

Kudzu bug on soybean, Photo: Russ Ottens, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

Kudzu bug on soybean, Photo: Russ Ottens, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

The Kudzu bug (Megacopta cribraria) is a pest that has not been known to most of the United States for quite some time, up until the past few years. Just recently, though, kudzu bugs have been popping up mostly around the southern part of the United States and they are starting to migrate north, leaving some wondering what impact they will have on the environment and crops.

The kudzu bug mainly feeds on the kudzu plant, which would be a good thing, however as more migrate here, we are starting to notice that they also like to feed on crops such as soybeans and other legumes. Also, according to an article in timesfreepress.com, they are gregarious, which means they travel in large groups of hundreds of kudzu bugs. This adds more concern because that means when they invade a soybean field, there could potentially be thousands of kudzu bugs attacking the crops.

It also is not as obvious to tell if a field has been invaded just from looking at the crops. In the same article it stated that the bugs do not eat the plant itself, but it has a “piercing, sucking mouth” that sucks the nutrients from the crop, leaving it malnourished, and eventually dead. They have not became a major problem just yet, but scientists are trying to study the insects now so that when they become a problem, they can be dealt with quickly and efficiently.

About the author
My name is Myer Runyan, I am a fifth year senior at Ohio State studying Sustainable Plant Systems with a specialization in Agronomy. I live on a hog farm back at home, which I hope to go back to and eventually take over after I graduate, and I plan to take what I learn from this class and apply it to my work back home.

This blog post was an assignment for Societal Issues: Pesticides, Alternatives and the Environment (PLNTPTH 4597). The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the class, Department of Plant Pathology or the instructor.

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