The kudzu bug is a perennial problem in the South, where they eagerly feast on their plant of choice while invading your home and siding. Individually, the bugs aren't harmful, but they can gather in large numbers indoors, causing an infestation. Here's what you should know about these insects.
They appear during spring and fall
The kudzu bug species tends to enter homes and make trouble twice a year. The first time is during spring when the bug population explodes, but there isn't quite enough new kudzu growth to sustain them outside. That's why these insects go exploring and often end up in kitchens or on walls. The second problem occurs in autumn when kudzu vines are dying and bugs are seeking new homes for the winter. Both seasons can be troublesome if you live in a kudzu-friendly area.
It's also worth noting that these bugs can arrive in cycles. Back in 2009, Georgia saw a massive kudzu bug explosion, in which it seemed these bugs were everywhere.
They love kudzu
The bugs prefer to eat, mate and lay their eggs on the kudzu plant, where they bite into the stems and suck out plant sap. However, they don't feed on the kudzu alone. Nearly any plant in the bean family will suit them, which means they can cause damage to soybean plants, wisteria and similar species. Damage is usually minimal, but in larger numbers, the bugs can be destructive.
They are hard to identify
The kudzu bug can be difficult to identify, even if you get a close look. They are tiny creatures that are comparable to an aphid. Their behavior is a better indication of their presence, as these bugs tend to congregate in rows and groups along plant stems to feed.
They are easy to smell
Another easy way to identify the kudzu bug is the smell. When disturbed or wounded, these bugs release a sharp, unpleasant odor. Although the smell is unpleasant, their odor is an easy way to confirm their presence.
Crushing them causes more problems
Stepping on or crushing the kudzu bug can cause more problems than their annoying smell. The bug juice that results can easily stain skin, clothes, wood and other surfaces, so don't squash them indiscriminately. Their juice has also been known to irritate human skin, but otherwise, kudzu bugs are basically harmless.
Keep your home protected
The easiest way to prevent these bugs from bothering you is to make sure that they can't get inside your home in the first place. Make sure that your weatherproofing and screens have no gaps and that you aren't leaving windows or doors fully open. In the garden, pesticides that use a synthetic pyrethroid are typically effective when it comes to getting rid of these bugs. Inspect-All Services can provide detailed advice on how to deal with serious bug problems.