Kudzu Bugs (also known as Bean Plataspids, Globular Stink Bugs and Lablab Bugs) are fairly small stink bugs, ranging from about an eighth to a quarter of an inch long. They have a rounded oblong appearance as seen in the photo.
They were discovered in North Central Georgia in October 2009. As of July 2014, they have spread to nine Southeastern states including 29 counties in North and Central Florida. That’s not too bad for a little bug that scientists say originated in Japan!
Oddly enough, the Kudzu Bug that’s found now in the U.S. has a different appetite than its Japanese counterpart. In Japan, it is not considered a major crop pest and does not seem to do much damage to soybeans there. However, the Kudzu Bug we have in the U.S. now has become a major pest of soybeans in the states where it has been found. As a side note, Japan does have one other species of this little round bug that is a major pest of soybeans, but this species hasn’t been found in the U.S. as of yet.
Not only do Kudzu Bugs damage crops, there is another dark side to this invasive stink bug… During their fall migrations to seek a place to overwinter (hide away till the weather warms up again), they aggregate on light colored structures in very high numbers, often taking up winter residence there. In nature, they like to overwinter in leaf litter and behind tree bark, which by itself isn’t a big problem. However, your house will do just fine as a substitute for their natural hiding places. Just like many other stink bugs, Kudzu Bugs secrete a foul smelling defense chemical that is capable of staining painted and unpainted surfaces on buildings and other structures. This is not a desirable trait!
If you encounter this pest in and around your home, give the Florida Pest Control office nearest to you a call. We’ll be able to help!