Stink Bugs



Adults are approximately 17 mm long (25 mm = one inch) and are shades of brown on both the upper and lower body surfaces (Fig. 1). They are the typical “shield” shape of other stink bugs, almost as wide as they are long. To distinguish them from other stink bugs, look for lighter bands on the antennae and darker bands on the membranous, overlapping part at the rear of the front pair of wings. They have patches of coppery or bluish-metallic colored puntures (small rounded depressions) on the head and pronotum. The name “stink bug” refers to the scent glands located on the dorsal surface of the abdomen and the underside of the thorax.

The eggs are elliptical (1.6 x 1.3 mm), light yellow to yellow-red with minute spines forming fine lines. They are attached, side-by-side, to the underside of leaves in masses of 20 to 30 eggs.
There are five nymphal instars (immature stages). They range in size from the first instar at 2.4 mm to the fifth instar that is 12 mm in length. The eyes are a deep red. The abdomen is a yellowish red in the first instar and progresses to off-white with reddish spots in the fifth instar. Protuberances are found before each of the abdominal scent glands on the dorsal surface. The legs, head and thorax are black. Spines are located on the femur, before each eye, and several on the lateral margins of the thorax. This species probably has a single generation per year in Pennsylvania depending on the temperatures. Warm spring and summer conditions could permit the development of two or three generations. However, in parts of sub-tropical China, records indicate from four to possibly six generations per year. Adults will emerge sometime in the spring of the year (late April to mid-May), and mate and deposit eggs from May through August. The eggs hatch into small black and red nymphs that go through five molts. Adults begin to search for overwintering sites starting in September through the first half of October.

Management For Stink Bugs In Homes.,

Before Bugs Enter a Building

Mechanical exclusion is the best method to keep stink bugs from entering homes and buildings. Cracks around windows, doors, siding, utility pipes, behind chimneys, and underneath the wood fascia and other openings should be sealed with good quality silicone or silicone-latex caulk. Damaged screens on doors and windows should be repaired or replaced.

Exterior applications of insecticides may offer some minor relief from infestations where the task of completely sealing the exterior is difficult or impossible. Applications should consist of a synthetic pyrethroid (i.e. deltamethrin, cyfluthrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, cypermethrin, sumithrin or tralomethrin) and should be applied by a licensed pest control operator in the fall just prior to bug congregation. Unfortunately, because insecticides are broken down by sunlight, the residual effect of the material will be greatly decreased and may not kill the insects much beyond several days or a week.

After Stink Bugs Have Entered the Structure

If numerous bugs are entering the living areas of the home, attempt to locate the openings where the insects gain access. Typically, stink bugs will emerge from cracks under or behind baseboards, around window and door trim, and around exhaust fans or lights in ceilings. Seal these openings with caulk or other suitable materials to prevent the insects from crawling out. Both live and dead stink bugs can be removed from interior areas with the aid of a vacuum cleaner - however, the vacuum may acquire the smell of stink bugs for a period of time.

It is not advisable to use an insecticide inside after the insects have gained access to the wall voids or attic areas. Although insecticidal dust treatments to these voids may kill hundreds of bugs, there is the possibility that carpet beetles will feed on the dead stink bugs and subsequently attack woolens, stored dry goods or other natural products in the home. Although aerosol-type pyrethrum foggers will kill stink bugs that have amassed on ceilings and walls in living areas, it will not prevent more of the insects from emerging shortly after the room is aerated. For this reason use of these materials is not considered a good solution to long-term management of the problem. Spray insecticides, directed into cracks and crevices, will not prevent the bugs from emerging and is not a viable or recommended treatment.


Stink Bug Facts...

Here is a list of the most important stink bug facts you should be aware about.

What do Stink Bugs Eat?

Stink bugs are basically herbivorous. They have sucking and piercing mouthparts which they use while feeding on a number of fruits and crops. They suck juice from fruits and cause significant damage to the plants. Their major hosts are birch, serviceberry, catalpa, butterfly bush, pecan, redbud, hackberry, pepper, dogwood, citrus, cucumber, tomato, sunflower, apple, pear, plum, and grape. They render damage to the plants in multiple ways: create necrotic areas on the surface of fruits, injure seeds, or even transfer plant-pathogens.

Some Asian stink bugs also hunt beetle larvae or caterpillars thus curbing devastative pests and proving beneficial for the plants. This is all about their eating habits in summer season; since they do not generate their heat on their own, they have to rely on external surroundings to keep themselves warm. Therefore, they remain hibernate in cold seasons.

Do Stink Bugs Bite?

Normally they do not. It is a fact that stink bugs feed on fruits and vegetables and they hold no grudge against humans. However, they do bite humans when they feel threatened and do this to prevent any sort of danger to their lives. As a result of their bite a person may feel painful, but harmless, swelling or rashes on the affected part of the body. Though stink bugs' bite is usually treated as non-poisonous bite for humans but it may prove poisonous for small kids and pets.

Are Stink Bugs Poisonous?

Sink bugs are not poisonous for human beings. Some people erroneously relate their pungent smelling liquid with that of poison. It should be noted at this point that they emit foul smelling liquid only to deter predators and discourage molestation. It will also be an interesting fact that in some African countries like Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Venda, Zambia and South Africa, people tend to eat stink bungs while considering it a part of their culture.

What Attracts Stink Bugs?

Food and environment both have attractions for stink bugs. They are mostly attracted by juicy plants which they suck through their sucking mouth parts. These plants include pepper, citrus, cucumber, tomato, sunflower, apple, pear, plum, and grape.

As for environment, they breed in warm weathers because they are cold-blooded and need external heat to keep them alive. It is therefore they are also attracted towards light colored houses or places where they find clear sun exposure. In homes their most favorite places are windowsills and door frames owing to the availability of suitable temperature.

Do Stink Bugs Fly?

Yes, stink bugs do fly. Although during their nymph stages, they do not have wings and therefore only climb from one plant to another; however, they are ready to fly as soon as they get full fledged wings. Since they remain inactive during winter season, they rarely fly when the temperature is not sufficient to provide them with enough heat. But again some species of stink bugs like brown marmorated stink bugs fly to warmer locations leaving their birth areas.

Do Stink Bugs Stink?

Definitely, they stink highly offensive and abhorrent smell when molested or crushed. Stink bugs embark upon stinking as a defensive act to prevent any threat to their lives. Moreover, this stink also serves the purpose of inviting other stink bugs to relatively warm and lightened areas.