Over the past couple of months with the warm weather arriving early, our office has been swamped with calls about a mysterious and unusual bug that hangs out on the outside of buildings and has been sighted inside of our homes and businesses.
Megacopta cribraria, also known as the Kudzu Bug, was first found in Georgia in the fall of 2009 and has been spreading like wildfire. They prefer to feed on kudzu roots as well as soybean crops but will also eat other plants including wisteria, green beans, and other legumes. In 2010, according to UGA entomologists, they reduced the soybean crop by 19 percent and they saw a 32 percent reduction in kudzu growth in plots monitored in Athens, Ga!
They are a nuisance to home and business owners as they tend to cluster outside of structures and fly around and land on us. Oddly enough, they prefer white or very light surfaces to hang out on. It is best to vacuum them up if you find them indoors, as they omit an odor and can cause staining when crushed. Outside perimeter treatments have also been effective at controlling these guys, but they are very persistent.
The latest hope of UGA scientists is that the release of a tiny wasp, which is a natural predator of Kudzu bugs, will be an effective way of controlling the spread of our invader from Japan! We’ll keep you posted.