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Md. officials send out kudzu bug alert

kudzu-photo

Kudzu bugs are an invasive species that can hard crop yields and are an annoyance to residential neighborhoods. (Courtesy Maryland Department of Agriculture)

The kudzu bug, an invasive species from Asia, has been found in Anne Arundel, Calvert, Carroll, Charles, Dorchester, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Saint Mary’s and Talbot counties, state officials announced Tuesday.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture is alerting soybean growers — especially organic soybean growers — to watch for the insect. Kudzu bugs can reduce yields, but can be controlled with appropriate pesticides.

“Kudzu bugs are invasive species that can have a significant impact on crop yields,” said Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “It is very important that farmers are aware of this insect and plan accordingly. Luckily, the kudzu bug is easily controlled with proper pest management planning.”

The kudzu bug typically feeds on kudzu vines and then may migrate to soybeans and other types of available beans. In Maryland, the pests have mostly been collected on kudzu; however, some have been found on soybeans in Dorchester County and could spread to other counties.

The bug can also be a nuisance for homeowners, similar to the brown marmorated stinkbug. When crushed, the kudzu bug can stain surfaces in the home, cause skin irritation and stink. The worst time for kudzu bugs and homeowners are early spring and fall. Tips for homeowners on how to keep the bug out can be found here. Homeowners who think they have an infestation should contact a licensed pest control company. (Licensed professionals are listed on the department’s database)

To report a sighting or collected sample of kudzu bugs, contact the department’s Plant Protection and Weed Management section at 410-841-5920.

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