Invasive kudzu bug causes problems in Va., Md.

The kudzu bug measures less than 1/4 inch in length. (Courtesy of Russ Ottens, University of Georgia,

WASHINGTON – A new crop-destroying bug has turned up in five Maryland counties and has infested soybeans in 21 Virginia counties.

Researchers at the University of Maryland Extension Service have been tracking the invasive kudzu bug, and have found it in all three Southern Maryland counties, as well as Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties.

It has infested soybean fields in 21 Virginia counties, including in Culpeper and Orange counties, according to the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service at Virginia Tech.

The small, olive-brown bug is native to Asia and typically feeds on kudzu vines before heading to soybeans and other beans, the University of Maryland says.

While the kudzu bug could be an economic pest for farmers, it also can be a problems for homeowners.

The bug can stain surfaces, cause skin irritations and stink when crushed. It shows up twice during the year, in early spring and in fall. The University of Georgia offers tips to control the bugs, and says for fall the measures should be taken in late summer.

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