Kudzu bugs

Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)December 3, 2013

Who else is seeing these on plants brought inside?

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LIke crazy. We had huge swarms of there here. There were a few days back at the beginning of november that every window in the house was covered with 10-50 of them. Extremely invasive little buggers.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2013 at 10:37AM
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Wow, I was wondering what these beetles were called. We just noticed them within the last year or so (they don't seem invasive here per say, we see one every once in awhile... waiting for the swarm now that you guys speak of them as invasive). Glad to know what they are, will have to keep an eye on my outdoor plants next week. I'm guessing with the name they've been given, they're in places that have Kudzu... or maybe, they're just comparing them to Kudzu (in the sense that they're also invasive). Hmm.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2013 at 11:01AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

These bugs are a new invasive species in the past few years. Somewhat similar to butterflies, they lay eggs which hatch into nymphs that suck the juices from plants along stems, petioles, the bottom of leaves (butterflies make caterpillars that actually ingest leaves.) When the nymphs reach their max size, they make a cocoon from which emerges the adult Kudzu bug.

Emphasis on their destruction of soy beans is the current focus, but I think we're possibly looking at a new pest of ornamentals on a monumental scale. Whether or not they can kill plants, or what plants, is not yet known. Probably depends on the particular plant and amount of bugs on it. The good news is that they are a temporary phenom only when nymphs are present and/or adults are laying the eggs, supposedly laying 2 broods of eggs per year. In a warm house with suitable sustenance? I don't think anybody knows.

Oh, and apparently they smell bad if you smush them. Yay!

Input from the public is needed. You can file a report here. Pics required. Logic dictates that adults would lay eggs where a suitable host plant is present. There are no soy, Kudzu, or Wisteria within eyesight, so the nymphs are using something in my yard and/or potted plants as host. I think this article is wrong although there is a fig tree on the other side of the house from the porch where I've spotted so many adults (and empty cocoons) on house plants.

"Kudzu bug nymphs inherit two digestive tract bacteria that allow them to digest kudzu or soybeans, but nothing else. Consequently any eggs laid on alternate plants wonâÂÂt develop into adult insects." Then why am I seeing so many empty cocoons? AFAIK, none of my house plants are legumes.

I didn't know to look for the nymphs (the stage which would damage plants) but I do now. I can't find any info about how far one would normally crawl to pupate, but have found several completed (empty) cocoons on 'house plants.' Plants outside for 8-9 months have all kinds of mysterious blemishes/holes in leaves. I couldn't find enough pics of Kudzu nymph damage to decide which damaged leaves might be attributed to them, if any.

More pics I took here, and link to article. Another article.

I can't find any substantial info about what the adults eat.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2013 at 11:59AM
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I haven't found any on the plants I've put outside yet. I've only seen a few that have squeezed through the window screens when I've left the windows open to let some air in. I kept throwing them back outside... maybe I should have flushed them. Stinks when squished... gross lol. I found some odd damage on my TC cactus, perhaps that's where it came from, really hard to say (I'm probably just shooting in the dark here). I haven't seen any cocoons yet either, I'll have to keep an eye out in that case.

Yeah, doesn't sound like they only eat legumes or kudzu if you've spotted them on your houseplants/ found damage. We of course have neither legumes or kudzu around our apartment area (we have kudzu in our state, most of it I see on the way to my parents' house... they live in the country, but not where we live). I don't think they know much about them from what it sounds. I wish I had taken pictures of them in our windows, but I haven't seen any in awhile.

Yay for new species... have you heard of some sort of mutant ant that's "new?" I say mutant for a lack of better words, apparently they're like fire ants but you'd rather play with a fire ant than one of these (I think I read that they're more aggressive). I wish I could remember the name of this new ant, but keep an eye out on those too.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2013 at 1:52PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

I just found an adult in a pot of mixed cacti/sux. I was pulling out what I thought was a long-dead chunk of rat-tail cactus (that way when I got this pot) now that I could see it's not attached to the still alive part. Surprisingly, it was still green inside and an adult KB seemed like it may have been munching on the roots, down under the soil. I didn't take a pic 'cuz the dead-looking chunk it was on is indistinguishable. It's possible it was just 'hibernating' in there, IDK.

There's definitely a ton of Kudzu around here too, but none in this yard, and it's not a small one. Yeah, I refuse to believe the nymphs crawled all the way to my front porch (at least 40 yards from any wild patch of vegetation on another property that could contain Kudzu) to make cocoons. I haven't seen any on other yard plants, but really only started looking for them after it had gotten into the 30's at night.

That's what I think too, they need input from people to know what they do, they don't know. I'll be trying to spot some nymphs on plants. That's really the only stage at which one could do something, if eggs went unnoticed as they almost always do, under leaves. Hopefully swiping them with rubbing alcohol will kill them. Have to find some to try...

Sure would like to know what the adults eat, if anyone finds anything about that.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2013 at 2:29PM
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Hopefully you will find out more about these beetles so you can inform those who are in need of it. Unfortunately, that probably means finding damage to your plants from the nymphs. Hopefully, whatever damage your plants receive is so little, they make a full recovery.

I really wonder where these darn things came from, maybe imported from another country somehow through bananas or something? I read about some dangerous spider that hides in the banana stacks that are imported in (extremely venomous), so I suppose it's possible they came from another country and enjoy our Southern weather.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2013 at 3:23PM
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I found this article on Wiki about the Kudzu bug, pretty interesting read.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wikipedia Kudzu bug Article

    Bookmark   December 3, 2013 at 8:17PM
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If they act like other house plant bugs, i.e. they eat plant tissue, lay eggs, bring up their young, and otherwise make it difficult for plants to survive, they will react to what can cause them difficulty.....soap.

Into a quart size (or half quart) spray bottle we put 40 parts water, one part dishSOAP,(not detergent) spray the plant from top to bottom making sure all parts are wet. We then go from bottom to top. We wait for 10 - 15 minutes---then rinse with clear water...making sure to also spray the soil that hides the eggs and larvae.
We treat 3 times (7 days apart....for 20 days....usually enough time to affect the eggs/larvae/adult stage.
If these beetles have a hard outer shell....add 8 parts rubbing alcohol to the mix. This will eat through the shell and kill the bug and will not do any harm to living plant tissue.
To just them be...let them eat what they will, is dangerous to the plant. Bugs can make little bugs at an alarming rate so the thing is to get them when they are not so many.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 6:54PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

If I can't see any nymphs on the plant, why would I spray it? Did you read the discussion, Goren? Supposedly these adults are just overwintering, nobody knows if they are harmful to anything besides Kudzu, soybeans & Wisteria at this point. It's hard to learn something about bugs if they're dead.

Dish soap and insecticidal soap are not the same thing. The PH of many dish soaps is not healthy for plants, and can contain substances unnecessary in the bug-killing process that may be harmful to plants. I would not put dish soap on any plant.

This post was edited by purpleinopp on Thu, Dec 5, 13 at 9:41

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 9:38AM
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