Kudzu Bugs (Megacopta cribraria)
By Bill Steinmetz
Tired of having Asian Lady Beetles use your home for their winter vacation? Now things may have gotten a little more interesting. In 2009, Asian Kudzu Stink Bugs were introduced into Georgia, likely on an inbound aircraft. Since then they have moved into the Carolinas, spreading across the State attacking our beloved Kudzu. Before thinking that the Kudzu has finally met its match, realize that these bugs have also taken a fancy to our soybean crops as well as wisteria and legumes-peas, and beans. The potential economic impact has some septarians equating them to the cotton boll weevil.
Without known predators in North America, these insect populations are exploding. Scientists are evaluating the introduction of a parasitic wasp from Japan that attacks the bugs there, but care must be taken to prevent the inadvertent introduction of yet another insect that gets out of control. Other researchers are searching for soybean varieties that might not be susceptible. This winter look for the Kudzu bugs, like the Lady Beetles accumulating on light colored house siding and eaves, even entering homes through cracks. The bugs swarm being good fliers, have a nauseating smell and when squished stain orange and can blister skin. Visit the EAAC Board or NCSU website for additional information.