Soybean growers are already treating for kudzu bugs in some cases and having BMSB would just be one more problem for them to deal with next year.

A reoccurring problem with both BMSB and kudzu bugs is a lack of long-term data that can be applied to management strategies.

“Native stink bugs have caused problems in crops for a long, long time, yet we still don’t have a good handle on how to manage them. The new species is different, and it’s really difficult to make good management recommendations based on such a short-term of study, Herbert says.

Kudzu bugs have been around an even shorter time than BMSB, making the mixing of both species in production agriculture double-trouble. Like the BMSB, kudzu bugs are distantly related to native brown, green and Southern green stink bugs that are commonly found in a multitude of crops in the Southeast.

And, like their cousins, kudzu bugs and BMSB are relatively easy to kill — that’s not the problem. Knowing at what population to spray, how to spray and when to spray can be big problems with either of the two new species.

Since appearing in northeast Georgia in 2009, kudzu bugs now blanket the Southeast from Florida, north to Virginia and west to Alabama, with pockets of infestations reported in counties in Tennessee and Mississippi. The insect seems to reproduce and spread as efficiently as kudzu.

"It will probably spread and survive anywhere kudzu survives," says Joe Eger of Dow Agrosciences, speaking at a recent South Carolina field day. Eger showed attendees a map showing kudzu's range in the U.S. — from Texas and Nebraska to New York and Massachussetts.

"So far kudzu bugs are found almost anywhere kudzu is found, so I suspect it will go much farther north," Eger says.

Even at the end of the growing season this year, entomologists across the Southeast were still getting calls about kudzu bugs at the R6 growth stage. By this time of the year many growers are finishing up with corn, defoliating cotton and digging peanuts and scouting soybeans for kudzu bugs in the last thing they want to do.