Biology, Pest Status, Microbiome and Control of Kudzu Bug (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Plataspidae): A New Invasive Pest in the U.S.
van Krestchmar, Jaap B.
Bacheler, Jack S.
Reisig, Dominic D.
Del Pozo-Valdivia, Alejandro I.
Roe, R. Michael
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Soybean is an important food crop, and insect integrated pest management (IPM) is critical to the sustainability of this production system. In recent years, the introduction into the United States of the kudzu bug currently identified as Megacopta cribraria (F.), poses a threat to soybean production. The kudzu bug was first discovered in the state of Georgia, U.S. in 2009 and since then has spread to most of the southeastern states. Because it was not found in the North American subcontinent before this time, much of our knowledge of this insect comes from research done in its native habitat. However, since the U.S. introduction, studies have been undertaken to improve our understanding of the kudzu bug basic biology, microbiome, migration patterns, host selection and management in its expanding new range. Researchers are not only looking at developing IPM strategies for the kudzu bug in soybean, but also at its unique relationship with symbiotic bacteria. Adult females deposit bacterial packets with their eggs, and the neonates feed on these packets to acquire the bacteria, Candidatus Ishikawaella capsulata. The kudzu bug should be an informative model to study the co-evolution of insect function and behavior with that of a single bacteria species. We review kudzu bug trapping and survey methods, the development of bioassays for insecticide susceptibility, insecticide efficacy, host preferences, impact of the pest on urban environments, population expansion, and the occurrence of natural enemies. The identity of the kudzu bug in the U.S. is not clear. We propose that the kudzu bug currently accepted as M. cribraria in the U.S. is actually Megacopta punctatissima, with more work needed to confirm this hypothesis.