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Bugs in abundance thanks to one of mildest winters in Georgia history

7:52 PM, Mar 15, 2012   |    comments
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ATLANTA (WXIA) -- The smelly kudzu bug is not the only pest that was supposed to thin out during the winter but is now in abundance.

One of the warmest winters in Georgia history allowed Georgia's stingiest pests to regroup for what could be a pesky summer and spring.

"We could see an increase in just about every insect population," said University of Georgia entomologist Wayne Gardner.

Metro Atlanta first noticed the swarm of kudzu bugs last fall. After a brief vacation, the smelly pests that resemble lady bugs are now back to cover cars and the outside of homes and businesses.

Employees at Figo Pasta in Vinings are constantly surrounded by them.

"They really like the outside of the building and generally the back of my shirt," said waiter James Witteck.

Among the other businesses inundated by the stinky creatures is 11Alive. A swarm of kudzu bugs is posted outside of the 11Alive newsroom, occasionally hitchhiking their way inside.

Mosquitoes are already in abundance. Gardner says the bloodsucking pests were active all winter and will only multiply as the weather gets warmer.

Fire ants are also a problem. Gardner says people are already complaining about mounds in their yards which isn't typically a problem this early in the year.

To combat fire ants, Gardner suggests spreading a bait material around the mound. The ants will eat the insecticide and spread the poison throughout the colony.

For mosquitoes, rid the outside of your home of any standing water. Gardner suggests cleaning your gutters, a place where mosquitoes can breed.

As for the kudzu bugs, the solution is not so easy. Gardner says you can spray them with insecticides, but there are so many of them you can't possibly get them all.

His suggestion is to be patient.

"When it gets really hot the kudzu bugs will retreat into the vegetation," said Gardner.

A hard freeze would certainly help, but Georgia may be running out of time for that.

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