Kudzu Bugs Are The Newest Fall Invaders, How to Get Rid of Them

10:46 PM, Oct 31, 2013   |    comments
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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- The kudzu bug is about the size of a ladybug, a cousin of the stinkbug, and tough to get rid of.

Katy Davis learned just how tough first hand. 

"I have tried bleach, Lysol, we got this raid spray." 

But none of those worked. The kudzu bug feeds and breeds on the kudzu plant, soybeans, and wisteria but because of recent frosts most of those plants are beginning to die. 

That means the bugs are looking for a new home and it might just be yours.

"The bathroom, the kitchen certain areas, you just see them and it's just ugh!," explained Davis.

Davis has seen the little bugs all over her yard, front porch, and in some rooms of her home. 

"We've seen a tremendous increase in numbers," explained Scott McNeely, President, McNeely Pest Control.

McNeely says for the past couple weeks they've gotten 10-12 phone calls about kudzu bugs daily. He says pesticides work, but the best way to get rid of a kudzu bug is something called exclusion.

"That is sealing around windows, making sure doors are tight fitting," said McNeely. But sometimes, that might not work. The problem is the bugs are so small - they can squirm into all sorts of crevices.

"We actually had some commercial buildings that had the HVAC system shutdown because so many insects being sucked into the cooling system clogging up the filters."

McNeely added, "The kudzu bugs have been a major issue this year more so than last and we would anticipate in future years, the populations will continue to grow."

McNeely says these bugs are attracted to light colors so you might see them near your house if it's white or yellow. He says if they get inside, be careful if you're using a vacuum cleaner or if you want to squish them. They are related to the stinkbug so that means they have their own unpleasant odor. 

Wendi Hartup, Natural Resources Extension Agent for the North Carolina Cooperative Extension offered the following tips:

Cutting back kudzu patches or other legume plants such as wisteria that can be removed before the fall should help reduce kudzu bugs around the home.  

The insects are fairly mobile (they crawl and fly) and so even eradicating (or attempting to eradicate) kudzu in or near your yard may not solve the problem. Kudzu bugs are good fliers, so they may move to a house or structure from plants outside of the property area. 

A shop vacuum with some soapy water (1 to 2 tablespoons of dish soap per gallon of water) in the canister will kill the bugs. After use, the soapy water should be discarded. If a regular vacuum with a bag is used, discard the bag after vacuuming. 

Kudzu bugs can be killed with pyrethroid insecticides applied directly to the insects, e.g., while resting on outside walls. However, given the peak of flight activity currently occurring, homeowners should expect significant re-invasion within a day or so.  

WFMY News 2

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