The last thing we need is a new nuisance insect, but we now have (megacopta cribraria), commonly referred to as the “kudzu bug.”
In 2009, the insect was discovered in a few Georgia counties, but now confirmed in more than 60 Georgia counties including Dawson.
My first call related to this nuisance pest was about two weeks ago. When discovered, the insect was flying from nearby kudzu onto the outside wall of a local business.
The “kudzu bug” is native to Asia and some may say anything that eats kudzu is welcome. However, other plants such as soybeans can also be on their preferred food list.
The other problem is the overwintering behavior of this insect. During declining temperatures the insect moves onto warm exposures of nearby homes and, if possible, inside. The kudzu bug’s overwintering behavior is much like the ladybug. Since it is related to various species of stinkbugs, the kudzu bug will produce an offensive odor when disturbed.
Excluding kudzu bugs from entering the home is important. For instance, homeowners should ensure that screening is placed over possible routes of insect entry into the house; that screens on windows are well-seated and without holes; and that soffit, ridge and gable vents are properly screened.
In locations where screening cannot be used, such as around pipe penetrations, steel wool can be stuffed into these openings to prevent the entry of kudzu bugs.
Lastly, doors should establish a tight seal when closed, and doorsweeps should be installed.
To gain relief from invading insects landing on homes, an exterior wall application of an insecticide spray, labeled for nuisance insect control outdoors, may be needed.
Unfortunately, re-application(s) may be necessary because kudzu and other surrounding vegetation often remain as a source of re-infestation.
When using insecticide-based products, always read and follow the directions for use on the product label. Insecticide use for control of kudzu bugs indoors is discouraged.
Insects that have managed to enter the home should not be crushed, as this action may stain indoor surfaces and/or result in odors that may prove difficult to eliminate. Vacuum the bugs and do away with the bag immediately.
The control of this new kudzu bug on structures may prove frustrating for both homeowners and pest management professionals.
Also, don’t believe this insect will mean the end of kudzu in Georgia — just another nuisance.
Clark Beusse is the Dawson County extension agent. For more information, call (706) 265-2442.