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Kudzu bugs are here; problem is they may eat more than kudzu

Photo by John Rawlston. Photo by John Rawlston.
CHATTANOOGA, TN (Times Free Press) -

They might be small in stature, but kudzu bugs are quickly becoming a big -- and smelly -- problem across the South. In fact, entomologist Wayne Gardner at the University of Georgia at Athens, says their arrival and the recent discovery of a parasitic enemy that specifically targets the insects is like something out of a Michael Crichton novel.

"They are not supposed to have appeared in North or South America, and they turn up on our front porch, or back porch, however you want to look at it," he says.

The tiny bugs, which look like an olive-green version of a ladybug, first showed up at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in 2009. They likely came over on a plane from Asia, where they are prevalent.

Since arriving, they have migrated into North and South Carolina, Virginia, Alabama, Florida and Tennessee. Their primary dietary source is kudzu, which might be welcome news, but scientists fear they might also like soybean plants, which are similar to kudzu.

Read more from our news partner the Times Free Press.

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