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It waddles when it walks and stinks a bit when challenged, and may be the next challenge to soybeans and other legume crops as it spreads from north Georgia into multiple couties across South Carolina. Its scientific name is Megacopta cribraria, but it is more commonly called the bean plataspid, globular stink bug or lablab bug.
Found in China, India
In China, there are one to three generations per year. Adults over-winter and become active again in April. Bugs can be found in the fields until October. In some areas in India these bugs are known to be active and feed all year.
How these new invasive pests got to northeast Georgia isn’t certain. The most likely scenario is for the insect, or more likely eggs from the pest, came in via Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. It’s likely the pest has been around a few years, but only built up numbers high enough to be found in 2009.
Though all plant material brought into the U.S. is subject to inspection by APHIS, only a small percentage is actually checked — due to the volumn of people coming into and through the U.S. every day.
Though the exact biology of the bean plataspid isn’t known, it appears to have the capability of rapid reproduction. It also has a number of abundant potential legume hosts in the Southeast — not the least of which is kudzu.
Right now it’s a potential problem, but one that entomologists in Georgia, the Carolina’s and Virginia are watching closely.