NEW BERN, CRAVEN COUNTY - Soy bean farmers are noticing more Kudzu bugs this year than last year across Craven County. Although the adult bugs aren't doing much harm to crops, these smelly insects could cause trouble when Fall rolls around.
Craven County Cooperative Extension Office Agent Mike Carroll has been talking with soy bean farmers around the area who have spotted the bugs.
He says Kudzu Bugs tend to cluster around the perimeter of a field before moving inward. So even if a field has a few plants with many bugs, it could still be out of harms way.
"They don't eat very veraciously so its possible to have thousands in a field and still be ok," said Carroll.
Typically, each Kudzu bug will lay about 200 eggs. When the eggs hatch, the newborn bugs are the ones that do crop damage. Right now is mating season.
"Out here they are looking to procreate so they are looking for alternate plants and soy beans are one of those plants," said Carroll.
The Kudzu Bug is named after the food it primarily eats, which is Kudzu. The insect has no natural enemy, so it is spreading each year. Carroll says it has been spotted from Virginia to Texas and has grown in Craven County this year. Theoretically the bug can travel anywhere the Kudzu plant grows, which is up to the Canadian border.
Carroll says farmers may not be the only ones having to deal with the invasive bug. Come fall and winter, the insect will look for sheltered places to hibernate.
"It tends to get into homes, it loves light colored objects so they tend to congregate by the thousands on homes and cars." said Carroll.
When agitated, Kudzu give off a smell like a stink bug, and can also emit a brown liquid that will stain surfaces such as fabric, house siding, and cars.