Action Requested (November 12, 2013): Live and dead kudzu bugs were found in a container filled with blended cotton/polyester yarn by Honduran Authorities (SEPA) at Puerto Cortesat on November 3, 2012. This finding was brought to the attention of USDA-APHIS-PPQ-PIM (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service-Plant Protection and Quarantine-Phytosanitary Issues Management). PIM informed the cotton industry that Honduras has resumed conducting heightened inspections for Megacopta cribraria (common name bean plataspid or kudzu bug) at their ports of entry (POE) for a second time. APHIS PPQ's response to the heightend inspections was to remind yarn exporters of protocols for loading containers. By adhearing to the protocol, APHIS helps insure harmonious relations with government agencies responsible for plant protection and quarantine in Caribbean Basin and other countries. APHIS continues to urge anyone exporting cotton yarn from southeastern states or through southeastern ports to abide by the protocols.
Background: EPA POE inspections affect all commodity shipments, including cotton yarn, originating in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. Shippers of all commodities are reminded that consignments containing live kudzu bugs will be turned away at the Honduran POE and returned to the originating state. Due to these heightened inspections, cotton yarn exporters are advised to inspect containers for hitchhiking pests during loading and shipping. The APHIS Phytosanitary Certificate Issuance & Tracking System (PCIT) website has the latest information on phytosanitary requirements.
Specific country phytosanitary import requirements for commodities are maintained in PCIT's Phytosanitary Export Database (PExD). The database can be accessed by clicking on the PExD tab at the bottom of the PCIT home page. Once PExD is selected, a window showing a dropdown selection box for countries will open. For example, if you are looking for information on Honduras, find Honduras in the selection box and click on the name. Once the next window opens, select the "commodity" and a new window will open. The next step is to type "Gossypium sp." to initiate a search for cotton's commodity summary.
Additional Resource Material: The University of Georgia (UGA) Center for Invasive Species & Ecosystem Health spearheaded the creation of a kudzu bug website. The website is updated when researchers publish new discoveries, post in-season updates, or revise the map showing Kudzu bug (Megacopta) confirmations (by state and county). The center, previously referred to as the "Bugwood Network," is a collaboration between UGA and state, university, federal and international partners.
Dr. Wayne Gardner, professor and unit coordinator in the Department of Entomology, University of Georgia, developed a brief summary for the USDA-APHIS Export Certification and Trade group following the first Honduran embargo of U.S. agricultural products. His intended audience was a relatively restricted one at APHIS given the situation's sensitivity. Because of the APHIS request for a quick turnaround, Dr. Gardner did not have the opportunity to directly cite those resources credited with different aspects of the summary. Therefore, the article on "Megacopta cribraria: A New Invasive Insect Pest..." is a starting point for anyone seeking additional information concerning this insect pests. For additional background on this pest, please consult the resources listed at the end of the article.
USDA-APHIS PPQ also published "Invasive Insect (Bean Plataspid) Poses Risk to Soybean Crops and Infests Homes in Southeastern States" in October, 2010. That factsheet is another information source on the bug.