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What is the kudzu bug?

In 2009, the United States welcomed a new type of bug within our borders – the kudzu bug.  These bugs love to feast on the dreaded kudzu plant.  If you are unaware of what the kudzu plant is, it is a species of plant that is extremely invasive.  If left unchecked, the hardy kudzu plant can easy climb and vine over a wide area, covering everything in its areas.  This can include cars or buildings if they remain unmoved for long enough.  While having a new type of bug that eats this type of plant may sound like a good idea, it’s really not.

The kudzu bug is the common name for the Megacopta cribraria.  Not only do these bugs like to eat kudzu, they can make a good dinner on other plants such as soybeans, wisteria and even sunflowers.  They look like a dark army-green colored small beetle and can be found on the stems and leaves of legume type plants.  Although relatively new, it is thought that these bugs can quickly become a real threat to soybean crops in the state.

Strangely enough, this bug emits a foul smell when it’s disturbed and it can be found in large numbers on the sides of buildings, especially during fall.  During the fall months, these bugs will crawl into houses through cracks and crevices in the foundation as they look for a place to winter in style.

Since the introduction of the kudzu bug, scientists have been working hard on finding the best solution for these bugs – not just for homeowners, but also for legume-farmers who might have crops at risk.  The good news is that large doses of pesticides aren’t required to get rid of these pests; however, the timing of when the pesticide is applied is imperative.

For now, if you see these bugs indoors, you can vacuum them up like you would a stink bug.  It’s important to keep your house sealed and caulked up well as they will enter through even a tiny crack.  Insecticides may be useful against these bugs, but it depends on whether they have already laid eggs or where they are located.

The good news is that if we have long stretches of colder weather, the more of these bugs will die.  This helps to control the population growth and the migration of the population.  In the meantime, keep your eyes open for these bugs and if you see one in the house, act quickly!  These bugs remain in large packs and the last thing you want is a house full of kudzu bugs.

14 Jan

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