Stink bugs belong to the Pentatomidae family of insects. They are also known as "stinkbug" or "shield bugs" (because all adult stink bugs are shield-shaped) and they derive their name from their tendency to eject an extremely foul and strong smelling fluid from their thorax when disturbed, handled, injured, squashed or threatened. This odorous chemical toxin is a defensive mechanism used primarily to discourage predators - like birds and lizards - from eating them.
Even though they look menacing, stink bugs do not bite or sting people, and will not cause structural damage to properties. To home owners, stink bugs are considered a nuisance pest, as they enter homes when the weather begins to cool, seeking heat and warmth to survive over winter.
Stink bugs are considered an agricultural pest to commercial farmers due to the huge losses they incur to the produce industry every year, especially growers of apples, soybeans, peaches, and pears.
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The brown marmorated stink bug is identifiable by the brown and white color pattern on the pest's abdomen. Originating from Asia, the brown marmorated stink bug is NOT native to the United States. Feeding on plants and fruits, this stink bug species during the winter months will seek shelter inside homes when temperatures begin to decline and the days shorten.
Green Stink Bug:
The green stink bug can be distinguished from other stink bugs by their distinctive color and the shape of their longate ventral ostiolar canal. Unlike the brown marmorated stink bug, the green stink bug is native to the United States. Found throughout North America, green stink bugs feature piercing mouthparts that suck plant fluids that sustain the pest and damage the plant.
Brown Stink Bug:
Easily confused with the brown marmorated stink bug, the brown stink bug (similar to the green stink bug) is native to the United States. A major agricultural pest in many southern states, the brown stink bug attacks crops like cotton and fruit.
Rice Stink Bug:
The rice stink bug features the same shield-like shape common with other stink bug species. The straw-colored pests feed on developing rice grains and can reduce farming yields. While the rice stink bug was reported first in the 1880s, it is only since 2000 that the insect has become a significant economic pest.
Megacopta cribraria, more commonly known as the kudzu bug, was first spotted in the state of Georgia in 2009. Since then, the stink bug has spread across the southeastern United States. Named for the insect’s fondness for feeding on the kudzu plant, kudzu bugs do not bite but do emit a secretion that can leave mild blisters on human skin. The kudzu bug often feeds on soybeans and has become a serious threat to farmers.
Spring and Summer:
Highly active in the spring, usually around May when warm weather hits. Activity increases as Stink Bugs attempt to get outdoors. They lay eggs under leaves – nearly 400 of them that will hatch in 3-7 days.
Adults overwinter inside, seeking warmth. Often found on the southern or western exposures of buildings when cooler weather arrives, where they receive the most direct sun. They will enter through any crack of crevice in a structure.
Once indoors, Stink Bugs cluster in groups. Warm winter days or heating may trigger activity indoors. During the winter, they do not reproduce and feeding on indoor plants is unlikely.
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