Above: Adult kudzu bugs infest a soybean plant in a field near Athens. Although the bugs’ favorite food is the invasive weed they’re named after, they also have a hefty appetite for soybeans. One female arrived somehow in Georgia in 2009, and they’ve been spreading out from there since. Arkansas and Louisiana farmers are keeping a wary eye out for an invasion because they were found in July in Vicksburg, Miss.
NEW ORLEANS — Kudzu bugs, pea-sized Asian insects with hearty appetites for soybeans as well as the weed they’re named after, have hitchhiked from Alabama to western Mississippi. Farmers and entomologists in Arkansas and Louisiana are keeping a wary eye out for an invasion.
The bugs were found near Vicksburg, Miss., in July.
“That’s too close for comfort for us in Arkansas and the rest of the Mississippi Delta,” Arkansas Extension Service entomologist Gus Lorenz wrote on a blog when he learned of the Mississippi sighting. The LSU AgCenter also put out an alert asking farmers to keep an eye out for the bugs.
Vicksburg is about 270 miles west of the nearest Alabama county where they’d been seen.
Since first being spotted near Atlanta in 2009, kudzu bugs have spread to the Carolinas, southern Virginia, northern Florida, Alabama and east Tennessee. They are strong flyers, but also are known to hitchhike on trucks and other vehicles.