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Kudzu bugs make themselves at home in NC

Posted April 18, 2013

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— Terry Hathcock has been putting off mowing his lawn for weeks – and not because he doesn't look cool on his riding mower.

Thousands of dead kudzu bugs litter his lawn, porch and house.

Alive, they look a lot like lady bugs. The litter critters are relatively new to the area. They eat invasive kudzu, but they also like soy beans and can be devastating to soy bean crops.

When soy beans aren't available, the bugs swarm looking for food.

Hathcock has sprayed more than a half-dozen times already.

“Oh, it’s been terrible,” he said. “There’s just a continuous wave. They constantly come.”

Susan Condlin, Lee County director for the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, said the bugs become less active in colder weather.

But when the temperatures climb, the kudzu bugs start moving again.

“All we can do is deal with it,” Condlin said.

Mike Clark and Tom Poston were dealing with it last week at work, when they were swatting bugs instead of swinging hammers.

“I was squashing these left and right because there was so many of them,” said Clark, a builder.

Added Poston: “We just call ‘em stink bugs because they stink whenever you smash them.”

Oh, and then there's the smell.

“I’ve never smelled anything like it,” Hathcock said. “It’s gagging almost.”

Kudzu bugs have been confirmed in all 100 counties of North Carolina, Condlin said. They aren’t dangerous to people – just annoying.

“I was walking in downtown Raleigh last week and one dropped on me,” she said. “So we just don’t know where they’ll be.”

Hatchcock just doesn't want them here.

“We're hoping and praying,” he said with a laugh.


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  • MonkeyFace Apr 19, 2013

    see that makes sense. we have a soy bean field on both sides of our house, and we've been seeing these bugs alot... learned some thing new today

  • djofraleigh Apr 18, 2013

    Anything that eats mile-a-minute vine is not all bad.

  • ohsnapchrista Apr 18, 2013

    So glad im not the only person with this problem! we took all our dead kudzu to the dump this past winter when we bought our house Just in time b/c last month we noticed these bugs neighbors still have tons of it and i still have a few in my backyard! these bugs are so gross and stink so bad!

  • whatelseisnew Apr 18, 2013

    We should run a line of soy crops straight to the SC border. Maybe they will migrate. I got nothing against SC, but would prefer that the bugs relocate.