Megacopta cribraria, better know as Kudzu bugs, have made their way to Birmingham. In 2012, I don’t recall having seen one. In fall 2013 they are everywhere in my yard.
Once I identified the little buggers I did some research to find out what they eat and what to do to control them. The answers were not comforting.
These guys come from Asia (same as the Kudzu they love) and they spend the summer sucking the juice out of kudzu vines. For that I could learn to love them. But, it seems they also like to get inside your house to spend the winter there – not cool! Also, they have developed a taste for soybeans since coming to the US (they don’t feed on the plants in their native lands.)
It has only been a few years since they were first identified in the US, but kudzu bugs have rapidly spread through the southeast.
From everything I read, it seems like there isn’t much to be done about them. They fly far and fast. Since they are light, the wind pushes them along. Insecticides will kill them, but a thousand more will quickly take their place. If you try to catch or squash them, they release a stinky yellow substance that will make you regret that decision.
Much like cicadas, you just have to endure them for a few weeks until they settle down for the winter. If they get in the house, suck them up with a vacuum and empty the bag outside fast.
Keeping them out of the house seems to involve sealing up cracks and crevices. Oh, and keep the doors and windows shut too.
This is a new pest for me, so I’m open to suggestions about how to manage them without turning the house and garden into a chemical dump.