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Stink bug

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Stink bug
Hilare - Green Stink Bug.jpg
Scientific Classification
  • Aphylinae
  • Asopinae
  • Cyrtocorinae
  • Discocephalinae
  • Edessinae
  • Pentatominae
  • Phyllocephalinae
  • Podopinae
  • Serbaninae
  • Stirotarsinae
Apateticus cynicus
Apateticus Cynicus-Stink Bug.jpg

The Stink Bugs or shield bugs are any of the species of true bugs that belong to the taxonomic Family Pentatomidae. They normally aren’t dangerous, though some can give a fairly bad bite. As their name implies, stink bugs are perhaps best known for their production of an unpleasant smell used to discouage predation.


Halyomorpha halys - Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Several parts that make up the stink bugs anatomy are first its exoskeleton, or tough shell, is used for protection that covers the entire body. Below this protective shell are three sections that all insects have, the head, thorax, and the abdomen. The wings and legs of the stink bug are attached to the thorax.The thorax is the middle section of the bug. The back wings are so thin you can almost see through them and the front wings are very tough at the base, then thin out at the tips. When resting the front wings cross forming an “X”. The hind section of the stinkbug is its abdomen. Here you will find most of the stinkbugs breathing holes known as spiracles. Along with these breathing holes are the bugs reproductive and digestive systems. Like all true bugs the stinkbug has no chewing mouthparts. Instead they have rostrums, tube like beaks, which have four thin, sharp needles in it. Many stinkbugs use there needles to suck juice or sap that plants use to store and transport food. Other stinkbugs instead of sinking their needles into plants do it to other bugs and suck their body fluids. When the stink bug isn’t eating it holds its beaks under it body and between their front legs. Along with the rostrum it has two large compound eyes which are made up of many separate lenses. [1]

The stinkbugs shape is usually oval to elliptical and most widely recognized by its triangular scutellum. Stink bugs are generally green to brown in color and many have conspicuous marks. Stinkbugs have glands which produce a smelly liquid. These glands are in their thorax between the first two pairs of legs. This liquid is a defense mechanism to deter potential predators. They will also release this liquid if they are handled carelessly. [2]


Stink bugs deposit their eggs under leaves in bundles with tight rows of individual barrel-shaped eggs. Most survive the winter, then the adult females seek a host in early spring then typically deposit eggs on the host they have chosen. Usually these populations that survive the winter are found along field borders. When the nymphs hatch they are very cordial in habit and stay on or near their egg mass. As they begin to develop they start feeding and dispersing. This life cycle continues to repeat itself when the matured adults find mates and deposit new egg masses. [3] Stink bugs are usually fully matured and mating in the summer. This means another batch of young will come forth and be matured by the end of the year. The stink bug young take about 3 months to mature. [4] The young stink bugs develop through five instars or stages. The first stage is different from the remaining because they do not feed. The other four stages and the adult tend to feed on developing seeds or fruits. [5]


Proxys punctulatus-The Black Stink Bug

Adults will over winter in leaf litter and emerge in late march. They can produce up to two generations per year. The first generation develops on exotic spring-time weeds including common mustard, black mustard, wild radish, and cheese weed. By early June this spring generation is complete. The second generation develops primarily on tomatoes. This isn’t so much a preference but its just about the only suitable host during the summer. [6]

Stink bugs that are in the south will sometimes migrate north if it gets too hot. They don’t like hot weather and they don’t like really cold weather either. If they find themselves too far north and become cold they will sometimes hibernate on top of a building providing some warmth. Stink bugs are also attracted to light. They can find there way into homes during the long summer nights if a porch or deck light is on and the doors are being opened and closed. The warm homes protect the stink bugs from cold, rain, and other elements. Stink bugs can work there way under siding into attics or even around your window or doorframe. Once inside you can expect more to come and them becoming active. If you handle them they can release a smelly odor and even produce a pretty nasty bite. [7]


The stinkbugs smell is a malodorous liquid which they release from glands in their thorax. This is most definitely not a pleasant smell. This is thought to be a defense mechanism. If a predator approaches they may find themselves in a smelly mess. [8]