Kudzu was introduced to the U.S. on America's centennial birthday.
During the Great Depression, the Soil Conservation Service promoted Kudzu as a form of erosion control and we are now fighting 7 million acres of Kudzu in the Deep South. If the Kudzu plant is not bad enough, what about the Kudzu bug?
The Kudzu bug, Megacopta cribraria, is an exotic pest that was first detected in the U.S. during the fall of 2009 in nine northeast Georgia counties. This year, the Kudzu bug was discovered in many southwest Georgia counties, including Thomas. It is classified in the same family of insects as the stink bug, with piercing/sucking mouthparts used to suck juices from plants.
According to UGA entomologist Dr. Phillip Roberts, "Kudzu bugs maybe observed on many plant hosts, but the primary reproductive hosts are kudzu, wisteria and soybeans."
Notably, our first concern is the impact on commercial crops, such as soybeans. However, kudzu bugs may prove to be a nuisance pest ,also.
Kudzu bug adults are oval shaped, small, about ¼ inch diameter, and greenish brown in color. Depending on temperature, it takes 6-8 weeks for a kudzu bug to go from an egg to an adult.
Current research has found that there are two generations of kudzu bugs. Much of the kudzu bug populations develop on kudzu for their first generation and move to soybeans or bean related crops to complete its second generation.
During the fall, large numbers of kudzu bugs move to sheltered areas to overwinter, such as leaf litter and tree crevices.
So, what about cracks and crevices around the home? Last week, I received calls concerning kudzu bugs settling around window trim, doorframes, gutters, etc. Interestingly, research has also found they prefer these light colors around the homes. They are doing nothing but looking for an overwintering site.
With these kudzu bug invasions, what control options do we have around the house?
See Saturday's edition for more details.