HARRISON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - An unwanted invader, commonly known as the 'Kudzu Bug,' is wreaking havoc on local farmers.
"It's in the stink bug family," said Brent Allen, with the Washington County Extension Agency. "It's just a little beetle that feeds typically on legumes, including Kudzu and soybeans."
The bugs arrived in north Georgia in the fall of 2009, and have since spread like wildfire, reaching almost all of Georgia's counties, the entire state of South Carolina, about half of North Carolina, and a few counties in Alabama.
Farmers say the bugs are destroying their soybean crops.
"They did a lot of damage to my beans," said farmer and chairman of the Georgia Soybean Commission, Glenn Waller. "I had some beans — they probably cut the yield on them by probably half."
So why the big fuss over soybeans? What exactly are they used for?
"There's so many things," said Waller. "You got your oil, then you got your meal, and soybean meal is used in a lot of your animal feeds. You'd be surprised if you look at stuff you buy on the label, how much soybean oil and soybean products is used. There's a lot of things it's used in, and it's a good commodity worldwide. We don't only use it here, we ship a lot of it abroad to China and different places, where they use it there."
Farmers like Mr. Waller have sprayed their crops with insecticides multiple times, but the bugs just won't go away.
"We're trying to save all the money we can; these insecticides ain't cheap."
Scientists have recently discovered a wasp in Japan that feeds on the eggs of Kudzu bugs. They're hoping to release those wasps here to end the Kudzu Bug life cycle.