Kudzu-munching bug threatens bean crops

ATLANTA (AP) - Researchers recently found an insect in north Georgia that has never before been reported in the Western Hemisphere, and its arrival could be both a blessing and a curse.

The good news is the bug eats kudzu, the invasive vine that drapes much of the South. The bad news is it also eats soybeans and other legumes.

As of Nov. 12, the insect had been reported in nine north Georgia counties. Experts aren't sure how fast or wide it could spread or how much crop damage it might cause.

With cooler temperatures killing many of the plants it eats, the insects have been seeking shelter for the winter, holing up in attics or cracks in wood siding.

But researchers are preparing to keep tabs on them when they reappear in the spring.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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