The insect is another on the long list of pests introduced into this county by accident. It was first identified in Georgia in 2009 and has now been positively identified in 154 counties across the state. Besides Georgia, this pest has also been found in Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida.
The kudzu bug is dark brown, about the size of a ladybug, and feeds on legume plants such as kudzu, soybeans, green beans and field peas. They feed on these plants by sucking the plant juices from the stem, so they do not devour the leaves like many other plant pests. This insect has caused concern to soybean growers since University of Georgia research has shown up to 40 percent yield losses in untreated soybean fields.
As cold weather approaches, local residents need to be aware that as the bug’s food source disappears for the winter, they may try to survive in or around your home. Much like the ladybugs that many homeowners have dealt with in the past, they will soon be searching for a warm place to hibernate until warm weather returns next spring.
They are not harmful to our homes, but they can be a huge nuisance since they usually show up by the hundreds or thousands. They are attracted to the color white so some individuals with white homes, cars, etc. are already finding them.
For more information on controlling kudzu bugs, call the Walker County Extension Office at 706-638-2548.
Norman Edwards is coordinator of Walker County Extension Service.