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Invasive bug poses threat to crops, lawns, homes

MONTGOMERY COUNTY and WARREN COUNTY — The Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce (MDAC) has confirmed the first positive identification of the kudzu bug, Megacopta cribraria, in Mississippi.

The insects were discovered in the past week in Montgomery and Warren counties.

As its name suggests, the kudzu bug commonly feeds on kudzu, but it can also be a potentially damaging pest of soybeans and other legumes.

Mississippi State University Extension Service entomologist Dr. Angus Catchot said, “Research has shown the insect can be controlled with currently registered insecticides if crops become infested.”

In addition to being a pest of legumes, the kudzu bug can become quite a nuisance to homeowners. They can invade homes in large numbers and emit a foul odor.

The kudzu bug is a native of Asia that was first discovered in the United States in northeastern Georgia in 2009, according to MDAC. Since that time, the insect has spread rapidly into the surrounding states of Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia largely due to its ability to travel long distances on equipment and vehicles.

Inspectors with MDAC’s Bureau of Plant Industry have begun surveying the state to determine just how widespread the infestation has become. Due to the kudzu bug’s biology, it is likely the insect will continue to spread throughout the state.

For more information, contact the Bureau of Plant Industry at (662) 325-3390 or toll-free at 1-888-257-1285.

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