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Kudzu Bug About To Move Into Western Pennsylvania

(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Lori Sperling)

(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Lori Sperling)

John Shumway John Shumway
John Shumway joined NewsRadio 1020 KDKA in 2004 as co-host of The KDKA...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Right now if you want to see a kudzu bug in Pennsylvania you have to follow John Rawlins into the bug drawers of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

The kudzu bug is about the size and plumpness of a pencil eraser. They came from Asia and first surfaced in Georgia in 2009.

“This thing, in the space of three or four years, has been traveling by the millions and moving it’s distribution and expanding it from where it was originally introduced,” said Rawlins.

The folks at Ehrlich Pest Control can follow the migration of these little flyers through their calls for help from soybean farmers.

“Right now they are south of West Virginia, in Virginia and Maryland. Probably not much of an issue at least here in western Pennsylvania for, I’m guessing maybe, a couple of years,” said Chad Gore, Ph.D., a J.C. Ehrlich entomologist.

Rawlins suggest we’ll see the first bugs here next fall.

The little critters get their name from what they eat, the kudzu vine, commonly called, “the vine that ate the south,” because it’s predatory and covers everything.

“We don’t have kudzu up here in the northeast, so we don’t necessarily have to worry about it in that respect,” said Gore.

There’s some kudzu around, but not enough to support millions of the little winged visitors.

Both experts agree the kudzu bug is not carnivorous as has been rumored. They simply don’t have the equipment to bite.

Rawlins says unlike the stink bug, the kudzu stinks worse, and can leave a nasty stain and skin irritation when smashed.

“This is probably going to be even worse as far as coming into the house through the cracks and crannys,” said Rawlins.

But that level of a kudzu bug infestation is at least one to two years away, if not longer.

RELATED LINKS:
Reports on the Stink Bug
More Reports by John Shumway

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