Houston County Extension ANR

Worse than Kudzu

Kudzu Bug (Megacopta cribraria)

Daniel R. Suiter, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

 

What is worse than kudzu?  Plenty of things, which non-ironically includes the pest that feeds on it, kudzu bugs.

Kudzu Bug (Megacopta cribraria)

Jeremy Greene, Clemson University, Bugwood.org

Kudzu Bug (Megacopta cribraria)

Jeremy Greene, Clemson University, Bugwood.org

Problems

According the NC State’s Handout, plants affected by kudzu bugs may show signs of nutrient and water loss. True to its name, this invasive species feeds on the invasive species it is named after.  This pest can also be found on wisteria and soybeans, and even on the side of your house.  Kudzu bugs also excrete honeydew, a sugary substance that encourages the growth of sooty mold, which can inhibit photosynthesis in the plant.

Kudzu Bug (Megacopta cribraria) Infestation

Daniel R. Suiter, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

Homeowners may experience swarming on their houses as the bug invades looking for a place to overwinter mid-October to early December They are additionally pesky in March when they leave their overwintering sites.  Beware of stains!  If crushed, these creatures can stain surfaces and emit odor as they are a stink bug.

Control

Removal of kudzu patches and other overwintering sites can help reduce the number of insects that my migrate toward your house or field.

Recommended controls indoors is simply to vacuum the bugs and then place the bag in hot soapy water; outdoors a pyrethroid can be applied to the house, and any kudzu plants should be killed and removed from the property.  Additional tips to implement in late summer are to:

▪  Place screening over possible routes of insect entry into the house

▪  Check to make sure screens on windows are well-seated and without holes

▪  Check to make sure soffit, ridge, and gable vents are properly screened

▪  Stuff steel wool into openings where screening cannot be used, such as around pipe penetrations

▪  Make sure doors establish a tight seal when closed

▪  Install doorsweeps

Resources