What the…Kudzu Bugs?

Kudzu, kudzu bugs, bean plataspid, megacopta cribraria,stinky bug, square brown beetle looking bugAlthough we observed Earth Day yesterday, there is something that’s bugging me! A couple of years ago I saw reports on television about the megacopta cribraria, also called the bean plataspid or as we have come to know it, the dreaded Kudzu Bug! Last year I saw a few around my house and wasn’t THAT annoyed by them because there were many other insects and pests attacking my flowers and banana trees I had to fight with! Besides, I didn’t think it was going to be a problem since kudzu was not near our house. When I went to work I saw a few on my all white truck, since researchers said these stinky bugs are attracted to the color white and light colors. That does not mean however, that I will resort to wearing dark colors during the summer!

If those stinky bugs ever get into your house, I heard they are worse than a roach! If you crush them the stench is horrific, plus it stains whatever surface you smash them on, including your skin. So, just spray them with some bug spray right? WRONG! Most pesticides won’t make them budge, just makes them more aggressive and productive.

So where did these “make your life miserable pests” suddenly come from? These bugs are native to India and China. They are supposed to eat the kudzu, which is a good thing. If you live in the south where kudzu is a natural part of the landscape, you know what I’m talking about. Kudzu is a coiling and trailing perennial vine native to much of eastern Asia, southeast Asia, and some Pacific Islands. In other words, someone brought it to the U.S. years ago to help control the erosion of slopes, but it is now a growing menace to the environment. Now the Kudzu Bug, which is SUPPOSED to eat the kudzu, is discovering some other delicacies to nibble on like wisteria, green beans and other legumes. Additionally, the insect sucks juice from the stems of soybean plants and farmers are helplessly livid.

So, you haven’t seen any citings of these demon bugs? Well, if you haven’t yet, get ready. Here are a few facts about these creatures:

  1. They are about 1/6 inch to 1/4 inch long – about the same size as the ladybug.
  2. They are roundly oblong, but almost look like a little square.
  3. They are olive-green to brown, with brown specks.
  4. The kudzu bug can stain surfaces and cause foul odor when crushed.
  5. The populations can grow out of control.

So, as I occasionally glance over at my window, and watch a few of them apparently “mating” I am desperately scanning through topics on how to get rid of these pests. Although my alma mater is the University of South Carolina, researchers from our rival institution, Clemson University, created a great factsheet about the megacopta cribraria. http://www.clemson.edu/cafls/departments/esps/factsheets/household_structural/kudzu_bugs_hs50.html

To make matters even more dismal, these bugs began invading our area 2 years ago. They are just buzzing over to our neck of the woods in greater numbers. http://www.wcnc.com/news/local/Kudzu-bugs-cause-havoc-in-Charlotte-Neighborhood–163571966.html

Long story short I feel like I am in a Sci-Fi movie, called The Invasion of the Kudzu Bugs! If anyone had success getting rid of these bugs, PLEASE leave a comment below and share with the rest of us! Although we are not infested with them like many other people, I am literally bugging out!

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