The Difference Between A Stink Bug And Kudzu Bug

Stink bugs and Kudzu bugs are relatively new to North Carolina. They have already become some of the biggest nuisances during the late summer and fall months. The brown marmorated stink bug is from Asia and was first seen in Pennsylvania in the 1990s. It was first seen in North Carolina around 2009 in Forsyth County. The kudzu bug was first seen in Georgia in 2009 and is also from Asia and is now in most North Carolina counties.

Both of the bugs target specific plants and are also a nuisance to homeowners as they gather on light-colored homes looking for a place to overwinter. Once they get inside your home, they are difficult to kill and they do emit a nasty odor if they are crushed.

The stink bug prefers ornamental plants, fruit trees, legumes and vegetables. The kudzu bug prefers kudzu vines but will go after wisteria, soybeans and most any other type of bean. They have been known to cause up to a 75 percent loss in soybean crops. They may be seen on grapes and figs but do not eat those plants.

The Difference Between a Stink Bug and Kudzu Bug

The stink bug is about one-half inch long and half-inch wide. They have different shades of brown on all body surfaces. They have a shape that looks like a shield. The brown marmorated stink bug also has bands of alternating brown and white on the edges of its abdomen and white stripes on its antennae. You may also see lighter white bands on its legs.

A kudzu bug is a bit larger than a ladybug and is either brown or olive green. The bodies are flat and squarish. You’ll often see them in large groups.

Both the stink bug and kudzu bug fly, though the stink bug will hitch rides on cars to get from place to place. Both bugs like to congregate on light-colored surfaces, so you’ll see them on your house. You may also see kudzu bugs on light-colored plants, though if those plants are not on their list of food, they won’t eat them.

Where You’ll Find Stink Bugs and Kudzu Bugs

Kudzu bugs are prevalent throughout North Carolina. Stink bug sightings are becoming prevalent throughout the western and middle sections of North Carolina, with the exceptions of Clay and Robeson counties, plus a few counties in eastern North Carolina. There have been no reported sightings and authorities have not seen stink bugs in several of the eastern and coastal counties. The stink bugs are also found in The Upstate, a region in western South Carolina.

You’ll find stink bugs on your house, in the yard or in fields of crops. They tend to congregate on homes when they are looking for a warm place to stay for the winter. If they get in your home and you squish them, they will leave a bad odor. Since Kudzu bugs are also of the stink bug family, they also have a nasty odor when they are squished. Kudzu bugs also leave a yellow substance that could stain. Some people may also have a reaction to the substance.

Preventing Stink Bugs and Kudzu Bugs

If you see the bugs congregating in the yard or on your house, carefully sweep them into a bucket of soapy water. While you could use an insecticide with synthetic pyrethroids, keep in mind that these are toxic to beneficial insects and bees. Over-the-counter insecticides that contain synthetic pyrethroids include:

  • Ortho Bug B Gone Max Concentrate,
  • Bonide Eight Insect Control Concentrate,
  • Tiger Brand Super 10 Concentrate, and
  • Spectracide Triazicide Insect Killer Concentrate.

If you do spray, spray only late in the evening when bees are not active and only spray plants that are infested.

Stink bugs and kudzu bugs don’t have a way to bite you – their defense is the odor they give off. They do not structurally damage your home if they do get inside. They are simply looking for a warm place to stay during the winter. However, it’s better to get rid of them so they don’t lay more eggs in the spring and attack crops and plants. The stink bugs do have natural enemies, however, those enemies are also pests.

If you are not able to control stink bugs and kudzu bugs by drowning them in soapy water or using the above-mentioned insecticides, or, if you have questions regarding stink bugs or kudzu bugs, contact a professional exterminating company such as Clint Miller Exterminating.

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