Small, brown and ready to pack a punch with its foul smell, the kudzu bug may seem harmless enough, but this little stinker is becoming quite the nuisance. First making its appearance in Georgia back in 2009, these little guys are thought to have migrated to the United States as early as 1998. Fast forward to today, these bugs are increasing in number and making their unwelcomed presence felt both on the exterior and interiors of homes, gardens, cars and more.
While kudzu bugs started off in just a handful of counties, they have now found their way to over 143 counties in Georgia, as well as in other neighboring southern states and even as far up as Virginia.
Youve probably already encountered several of these insects while stepping out of your front door, and if youve had the misfortune to step on one, youll know that the liquid they secrete can smell quite terrible. So, what exactly are these kudzu bugs and how can we get rid of them?
A long way from home, the origins of this bug trace back to India and China. Known in the scientific community as Megacopta cribraria, the kudzu bug has a voracious appetite for soybeans and has been known to feed aggressively on the kudzu and wisteria trees found all over Georgia.
Similar in appearance to a beetle, the adult kudzu is often light brown with an olive green tone and about ¼ inch long, with the younger insects having a more hairy skin. Where these little guys will really get you is by emitting a foul liquid when directly handled or squished. This can even cause staining and for some more sensitive individuals, blistering and discomfort.
In an effort to stay sheltered, the kudzu bug has a natural tendency to gravitate toward cracks and crevices on trees and shrubs. Unfortunately, the cracks and crevices around your home also provide refuge from the environment, which is why youll notice these insects around doorframes and windows. With the weather already cooling down, they will be seeking shelter in the warmer areas and are particularly drawn to light colors on houses or even clothing!
Kudzu bugs also have a habit of staying somewhat dormant during the winter months, only to become active again in spring where they will be searching for new vegetation to eat. Besides being a residential nuisance, the recent infestation of kudzu bugs can pose a real threat to untreated crops, especially soybeans. This is concerning to farmers who estimate that losses could surmount to as high as 50%, having an adverse effect on future crops.
While the thought of getting close to these insects is less than appealing, there are certain control measures you can take to help keep them as far away as possible. Always avoid crushing these bugs as they will leave stains and release the noxious odor that has made them infamous!
Some natural ways to get rid of them are:
If you choose to use chemicals to help control them, here are a few things to keep in mind: