Kudzu bug, Megacopta cribraria Fabricius (Hemiptera: Plataspidae), first discovered in the United States in 2009, is an invasive pest of soybeans. From 2013 to 2016, Maryland has been the northern limit of its distribution in the United States. We sought to determine the physiological cold temperature limits, timing of movement to overwintering locations, and to characterize overwintering microhabitat temperature. We measured supercooling point (SCP) on three populations from distinct USDA plant hardiness zones in Maryland and Virginia between October and December of 2015. The average SCP across all sample months and populations was -12.6°C and no consistent trend of month or population location were observed. Additionally, we assessed the lower lethal temperature to kill 50% of the population (LLT50) at the same population locations in October and November 2015. The average LLT50 over both months and all three population locations was -5.1°C. Again, no consistent trend based on population location was observed but we did find a modest depression in the LLT50 values between October and November. We observed that kudzu bug overwinters in leaf litter and begins to move into the litter in late November to early December. Leaf litter moderates day to night temperature differences and was warmer than ambient temperature by an average of 0.7°C. Evidence suggests that the cold tolerance of the kudzu bug limits its distribution north of Maryland.
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Vol. 46 • No. 6