Watch out for kudzu bugs

Published 12:28 am Saturday, November 3, 2012

Residents beware. A new pest could be on its way – the kudzu bug.

Chuck Simon of the Covington County Extension Office said while his office hasn’t received any phone calls about the pesky, stinky kudzu bugs yet, the insects are something locals should be aware of.

“I talked with Charles Ray, our entomologist,” Simon said. “He indicated that this was a major source of calls in Lee County, and he predicts by next year, it will be here in Covington – a lot like the Asian roaches this year.”

As with any other pest, cool weather signals home invasion of nuisance bugs.

And this time of year is made much more difficult to enjoy because Alabama residents are experiencing massive home invasion of the stinky kudzu bugs, Simon said.

A kudzu bug is not a beetle. It is a nuisance stink bug that secretes a foul odor that can stain wall coverings, fabrics and even skin.

The bugs are olive green-brownish bug with a squared tail.

Kudzu bugs are native to Asia, and were first detected in Georgia three years ago.

If residents wish to prevent the home invasion of these bugs, the Covington County Extension office recommends exclusion, which means sealing and caulking very well, around windows, doors, and areas where piping like water spigots or air conditioner lines enter the house.

If homeowners choose to use an insecticide, any pyrethroid insecticide applied directly to the bugs can kill them.

“Finally, even with use of well-timed insecticides and all the caulking and tightening you can do, if these bugs are interested in your house, some of them will find their ways to get in,” Simon said. “Remember, they all come with an offensive odor so treat them with care! Do not crush them as they can emit offensive odor and cause stains. The best way to remove them is to vacuum them up.”

Simon said an industrial vacuum works best, as odors can linger in a traditional vacuum and recommended adding 1-2 tablespoons of dish liquid per gallon of water then add a few gallons to the vacuum canister. The dish liquid and water will kill any kudzu bugs you vacuum up. If you have to use a traditional vacuum, be sure to throw away the bag as soon as you are done.To report kudzu bugs or to find more ways to deal with them, contact the extension office at 222-1125.