How To Control and Get Rid of Stink Bugs

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In the world of bugs there is a group that is well known for their smell. These insects are commonly known as stink bugs. These shield-shaped bugs are known to infest both gardens and homes. Though originally from Asia, these resilient bugs have found their way across the globe.

Stink Bug

What Are Stink Bugs?

Stink bugs are insects from the hemiptera order (commonly referred as true bugs) . Thus, they have similar characteristics to other bugs in that order such as mouths that are made for piercing and sucking and membranous wings that a hard at the back and clear at the tips.

Stink bugs are also part of the pentatomidae family and are sometimes call pentatomids. Member of the pentatomidae have unique features of their own. These include antennae that have five segments and broad broad bodies that are shaped like shields. Stinks bugs also have a larger than average scutellums (the triangle-shaped part of the thorax.)

These insects get their name from a foul-smelling liquid that they produce. They use the smell as a defensive mechanism. If a stink bug is mishandled or threatened it can release the liquid from specialized glands. The smell is suppose to prevent the bug from being hurt or eaten. The liquid is also released when the bugs are squashed. Though the smell is strong, it usually can be removed with simple soap and water.

As with many other bugs, stink bugs go through a life cycle. Female stink bugs lay eggs on the under side of leaves. Once the eggs hatch, they are called stink bug nymphs. The nymphs look a lot like the adults, but are wingless. Finally, after about 4-5 weeks, the bugs become full adults equipped with wings. One female stink bug can produce up to 5,000 bugs in two generations.

Stink Bug Life Cycle

There are many different types of stink bugs. Most stink bugs have a brown, green, or gray coloring. These bugs can easily blend into their surroundings to hide from predators. Some stink bugs, such as the Harlequin Bug, have bright coloration to ward off would be predators.

Some common type of stink bugs are:

  • Brown Stink Bug
  • Green Stink Bug
  • Harlequin Stink Bug
  • Spined Stink Bug
Stink Bug
  • Two-Spotted Stink Bug
  • Rough Stink Bug
  • Red-Shouldered Stink Bug
  • Rice Stink Bug

Key Facts on Stink Bugs

  • Stink bugs are ¾” in size, have triangular and shield-like bodies. They have 6 legs, wings, and antenna, come in brown, dark green, and gray colors.
  • Stink bugs are originally from the Insecta class, Hemiptera order, within the family of Pentatomidea, the Halymorpha halys, and the Anthropoda Phylum.
  • They are mostly considered agricultural pests and eat crops such as soybeans and raspberries, leaves, flowers, fruits ruining the products and making it impossible to sell.
  • These pests primarily host in bushes, weeds, farms, and gardens.
  • Stink bugs are harmless to human, and do not bite, sting or spread diseases however they cause damage to plants, and crops.
  • Stink bugs give off a stinky odor through their thorax when they are threatened, crushed or killed.
  • Stink bugs attack crops such as grains, fruits, vegetables, etc. However, they can also be helpful as they attack other insects and eat larvae of beetles and caterpillars who are pests to farmers.

Where Do Stink Bugs Come From?

Stink bugs are not native to to America. In fact, they were not even spotted in America until the late 1990s. Before then, the brown marmorated stink bugs were only found in parts of Asia and is native to China, Japan and South Korea. They were most likely introduced to other parts of the world through hitching a ride on agricultural goods being exported from China or Korea. Since the stink bugs have a great ability to adapt to different environments, they are able to thrive all over the world.

What Do Stink Bugs Eat?

Stink Bug Eating Leaf

There are two types of stink bugs when it concerns eating. Some of the bugs are herbivores and some are predatory. This means they eat different things. Herbivorous stink bugs feed upon vegetation. They are able to pierce through the plant’s hard outer layers to reach the juice inside. They then suck the juices of the plant. Most stink bugs are herbivores and feed on a range of plants, including a wide range of crops from fruit to grapes to soybeans . This is why they are considered pests.

Predatory stink bugs actively seek out their meals. This type of stink bug uses their piecing mouth piece to bore into other insect and drink the fluid inside. They usually prey on other anthropod insects which include caterpillars and other pest insects.  Predatory stink bugs have become an important addition to crops and gardens as they eat the insects that eat plants.

Do Stink Bugs Bite? Are They Poisonous?

Stink bugs are completely harmless to humans. The are not know to bite, sting nor do they have poison. The only defense mechanism they are equipped with are the scent glands that produce a foul smelling liquid they are known for when disturbed or threatened.

Methods of Getting Rid of Stink Bugs

The easiest way to get rid of stink bugs is to never have them in the first place. Prevention is key to controlling stink bug infestations. Typically, they are attracted to light and heat reflected off of the house. Turning off the light at night during summer and fall nights can help reduce the number of stink bugs attracted to houses. Other methods of prevention include: sealing all windows and doors tightly, caulking any cracks and holes around the house, removing window air conditioning units, and treating the exterior of your house with chemical repellents.

Talstar Pro

Sometimes, even while trying to  prevent stink bugs, an infestation can occur. For exterior infestation in crops or gardens, there are a wide range of insecticides available for use such as horticultural oil, cyfluthrin, permethrin, cypermethrin or tralomethrin which are perfect to spray around.

For stink bug control inside and around the outside of the house, a number of people recommend a multi-purpose insecticide Talstar Pro as a good prevention and exterminator of stink bugs.

However, there are some method that do not use chemicals. When the bugs are spotted indoors, a vacuum cleaner can be used to get rid of them. Simply suck the stinky bugs up and immediately seal the bag and dispose it far away. Or they can be carefully pick up during the morning hours when they are slowest. Once against, the bugs must be disposed of. Do not crush the stink bugs as it will only result in the smelly liquid being released.

However, if you are squeamish about the bugs, seek out the services of professional pest exterminators who will be able to help control and get rid of the stinky pests in a quick and effective manner.

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Warning! Do not attempt to use a “bomb” to kill the shield-shaped stinker. While it can help eliminate a lot of the stink bugs instantly, the dead bugs may also attract other bugs to the decaying bug bodies which can lead to more problems for you.

Stink Bugs