New bug eating its way through the Palmetto State

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- They TMre called Kudzu bugs because they feed on Kudzu leaves.

Dr. Tim Davis is with the Clemson University Extension office in Columbia.

He says the Kudzu plant was first brought to America in the 1930's to help with soil erosion.

Fast forward to the present and this tiny bug isn't just feasting off Kudzu leaves.

Feeding on crops particularly soy beans which is a high dollar crop for South Carolina, says Dr. Tim Davis.

According to researchers at the University of Georgia the bugs were first spotted in Georgia and now seem to be making Alabama, South and North Carolina home.

Dr. Rice says the spread of Kudzu bugs in the state has grown tremendously since 2009.

The bugs have piercing sucking mouth parts kind of like a big needle. They stick it in the stem of the plant and they suck the juices out of it, says Dr. Davis.

But what about homeowners do they have anything to worry about?

They don't bite, they don't sting, they can have a smell particularly if they are crushed. So I think there will be some complaints that happen there. But they are not a health hazardous, says Dr. Davis.

Dr. Davis says they are working with specialists now to determine the best way for farmers to get rid of the bugs before they spoil their soy beans.

In the meantime Davis says researchers are still looking at our possible concerns like possible insect disease transmission.