The kudzu bug has now been confirmed in its northern most state: Delaware. The plant pest can consumer certain row and vegetable crops including soybeans and lima beans.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service reported that the kudzu bug was found on pole lima beans in Sussex County, Delaware.
Growers were told by Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee to be on alert and report any suspected infestations.
“We want farmers to know about this latest pest, which has been steadily on the move from the South since it was first detected in 2009,” Kee said. “We now have an early warning, and this is the time to prepare.”
In addition to soybeans, which are primarily used for animal feed in Delaware, the kudzu bug can also go after succulent beans, such as lima beans, broad beans, mung beans and common garden beans.
The kudzu bug, a relative of the stinkbug also known as Megacopta cribraria or the Bean plataspid, was previously confirmed only as far north as Virginia. It has also been found in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Soybean growers in the South have reported that nymphs and adults feed on plant stems and leaves. A 2012 survey by the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension found no kudzu bug in the state.