Kudzu bugs cause problems for Charlotte neighborhood

Credit: AP photo

Kudzu bugs cause problems for Charlotte neighborhood


by TONY BURBECK / NewsChannel 36 Staff

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Posted on July 24, 2012 at 1:29 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 24 at 5:45 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Neighbors say a kudzu bug problem is so bad it is making their lives miserable and leaving them unable to enjoy their backyards or the community pool.

"Thousands, they're everywhere,” said Katherine Noto, who lives in the Anthem neighborhood in east Charlotte.  "My neighbor is finding them in her washer and dryer, in the refrigerator, in the dishwasher.  People are getting into bed and finding them in bed at night.  I take my hair down to take a shower and they're in my hair.  It's disgusting."

Noto said the kudzu bugs, also called stink bugs, showed up last fall and haven't left.

They come from the kudzu plants behind the townhomes, where they munch away and help control kudzu growth.

But the bugs are attracted to light colored surfaces, so they huddle on her doors, windows and drains.

Every time one dies and falls to her patio, another takes its place.

"I can smell them.  Your fingers smell if you touch them," Noto said.

Noto has spent hundreds of dollars on exterminators but it hasn't worked.

"I want the kudzu removed, killed, burned, pulled out,” Noto said.  "All the research says you have to get rid of the plant, but the plant is not on my property."

The kudzu plants are in the right of way of a railroad and large power transmission lines. 

Just who owns the land and what, if anything, they can or will do about the kudzu and the kudzu bugs—neighbors haven't figured out.

Two railroad companies NewsChannel 36 contacted said it's not their line or right of way, although they typically have right of way kudzu maintenance programs. 

Noto said the homeowner's association told her pesticides can't be sprayed because the chemicals could end up in a local stream.

"At least get it cut back to where it was when the neighborhood was built, which is right under the power lines,” said homeowner Bob Russell.

The bugs stick on his house as well.

"It's going to circle us pretty soon is we don't find a solution," Russell added.

Neighbors said cutting the kudzu growing on community property is a big expense and say some companies told them they won't do it because it's too hard to get rid of it.