Archived Story

Kudzu bugs an unending annoyance

Published 7:38pm Thursday, October 31, 2013

My mother’s family is from Buffalo, New York, so every year when we went to see grandma and grandpa, we would go to Niagara Falls.

For anyone that has been to the falls, you may know that the entiriety of the falls spans from both the United States to Canada.

While the United States side touts the most spectacular section of the falls, you can’t see this without crossing the border.

As a child, I remember seeing signs at the border crossing warning people not to bring any non-native wildlife back into the states. I never really knew why this was. I always assumed, since you had to pass a duty-free store to get to the exit, that it had something to do with taxes.

Though I have since learned the actual reason for this, there are hundreds of examples currently clinging to the side of my house that really drive the point home.

I am talking about that new stinky little insect known as the Kudzu bug.

I wrote a story about them a few weeks ago, partly because of what I see every night when I come home from work.

My house is white – which the bugs are attracted to – and for weeks, my white columns have looked more like Dalmatian print.

Every six inches or so, half-dollar sized bunches of the kudzu bugs are clinging to wood in a fight to stay warm.

This pattern spills over to the eves of my house, as these pesky little bugs have made home to any empty patch of the exterior that has projection from the rain.

All of this is because one of these hitched a ride a few years ago through the Hartsfield International Airport.

The bug’s exponential growth can be tracked back to a single instance in 2009. While back home the natural world had found a way to keep their numbers in check, their population quickly got out of control in an environment never suited for them.

We as humans need to be careful of what we do to our environment. Whether it is kudzu, hydrilla or kudzu bugs, taking anything out of its natural environment and transporting elsewhere can prove ecologically disastrous.

If you are a boater, check your propeller. Hydrilla has already taken over many lakes in the state, and care needs to be taken to make sure it isn’t hitching a free ride onto Lake Martin.

As for the kudzu bugs and kudzu, I am not sure there is anything citizens can do to help keep the spread down.

I know my landlord has made attempts to kill the kudzu creeping up along the back property line to my house. And I have killed hundreds, now going on at least a 1,000, of these kudzu bugs on my front porch.

Is it having an effect?
Not sure. But it’s hard not to do anything.

Quite frankly, I am getting tired of flicking these bugs of my shirt every time I step outside.

Nelson is managing editor of The Outlook.