Kudzu bugs (Megacopta cribraria) were imported into Georgia accidentally in 2009 and have spread across the South. The bugs are damaging to soy bean crops. The bugs are known to be attracted to white painted or white colored areas of homes. The bugs can be killed with commonly available pesticides but this requires direct contact with the pesticide. To date, there is no known repellent for kudzu bugs.
Inspired by the work of chemists reported in an upcoming article from the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) that described the effectiveness of a citrus fruit chemical as an insect repellent, Hamaker attempted to use the same technology to reduce the kudzu bug population that attempted to inhabit his home. The original research will be available at this site on Sept. 11, 2013.
Concentrated lemon juice rubbed on gutters and white painted molding deterred kudzu bugs from resting on the coated surfaces for two to three days. While the efficacy of the lemon juice is short lived, repeated applications did prevent kudzu bugs from reappearing. Lemon juice reduced the number of kudzu bugs attracted to a given surface by 80 to 90 percent.
Kudzu bugs live in and eat kudzu. Kudzu is plentiful in areas around Hamaker’s home in Trussville. Hamaker is a chemist and a member of the ACS.
The good thing about kudzu bugs is they do eat kudzu.