Please be on the lookout this coming growing season for the kudzu bug, Megacopta cribraria. This native of Asia was first discovered in the United States in Georgia in 2009. It has since spread to 11 additional states, including Kentucky, Virginia and Maryland. To my knowledge, kudzu bug has not been reported in West Virginia.
As the name implies, kudzu bugs feed on kudzu, and can be a serious pest of soybeans, beans and other legumes. They also invade homes and other structures in the fall to overwinter. Kudzu bugs are about ¼ inch long, olive green with brown speckles and somewhat “square” in appearance. Additional information may be obtained by visiting the Kudzu Bug website.
Kudzu patches along highway/roadway corridors likely aid in the movement of this insect and may be helpful in early detection. If you suspect a kudzu bug infestation, please contact the West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) Plant Industries Division (see contact info below). As always, your assistance is greatly appreciated. Sincerely:
Berry A. Crutchfield, Ph.D.
WV Dept. of Agriculture
Plant Industries Division
1900 Kanawha Blvd. E.
Charleston, WV 25305