Beware of Unwanted House Guests

As the temperatures cool down a few of the imported insects may look for refuge inside houses and other buildings.  They’re looking for a warm, cozy place to spend the winter.  One of them is a beneficial insect, the Asian Lady Beetle.  The Asian Lady Beetle is a ferocious predator of aphids, but when it invades a house in large numbers, it becomes an unwanted guest.  In many instances they can be vacuumed up and released back outside.

Two of these unwanted guests are not welcome outside, let alone inside.

Kudzu bug on Kudzu Leaf

Kudzu bug on Kudzu Leaf

The first is the newly established Kudzu Bug.  This small insect is about ¼ of an inch long and wide.  It has a copper color to it with random black dots or divots in its exoskeleton.  As a major pest of soybeans and other legumes (beans), this insect can be devastating to farms.  As the temperatures get cooler kudzu bugs will be attracted to structures where they can overwinter.  Most often they are attracted to light colored buildings, but occasionally you will find them on dark colored buildings as well.  This is already happening in the foothills of North Carolina and shouldn’t take long to reach our area.

The other unwanted pest is a relative of the Kudzu Bug.  It is the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug.  This stink bug can be differentiated from our native brown stink bug by the white spots around the margin of the leaves.  Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs will look for a way to get into the house to overwinter.

To keep either of these bugs out of the house, start now by sealing any cracks around doors, windows, and eves of the house.  The ready mixed indoor/outdoor insecticides can be sprayed around doors, windows, and eves to keep insects from finding a way in.  With both of these insects being new to the area, not a lot is known about which insecticides work the best.  Testing is being done, but the results are not yet available.  When using any chemicals, be sure to read and follow the label directions.

Here is a website where homeowners can go to get more information about kudzu bugs.  http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/ent/notes/Urban/kudzubug.htm

Here is a website where homeowners can learn more about Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs. http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/ent/notes/O&T/trees/note148/note148.html

Written By

Shawn BanksExtension Agent, Agriculture - Horticulture (919) 989-5380 (Office) Johnston County, North Carolina

Posted on Sep 28, 2012

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