Stink Bug Control
Scientific order: Hempitera
Common species: Brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys)
- Size: Approximately 5/8" long, and "shield-shaped," with a broad abdomen, six legs, and three body segments.
- Color: Brown marmorated stink bugs are brown-grey with irregular black speckling, brown legs, white undersides, and white banding on their antennae and abdomens. Other stink bugs may be brown, gray, or dark green.
Signs of Infestation
Inside, stink bugs are found hiding in cracks and crevices, usually in and around baseboards, windows, and door trims. They're also common in lights and external exhaust fans. Stink bugs make their way inside by congregating around warm, heat-reflective surfaces like windows and porches.
Infamously, stink bugs secrete a foul-smelling liquid when they're threatened or crushed. This liquid smells like coriander or rotten vegetables, and the scent can linger. The liquid might also stain nearby surfaces, especially carpet or wood.
Treatment and Prevention
Stink bugs typically enter buildings after finding cracks around outside door and window frames. Look for and patch up small drafts and cracks in frames and baseboard. Pay special attention to window wells and other low-lying frames.
Stink bugs congregate outside before squeezing their way inside. Vacuum or otherwise remove any bugs you find. DO NOT crush stink bugs, as this will release their odor and only attract more stink bugs. After removing stink bugs, wash the surfaces they congregated on with soapy water.
Behavior and Diet
Most stink bugs, including the Brown Marmorated stink bug, use piercing-sucking mouthparts to pierce fruits or plants and suck their juices out. Brown marmorated stink bugs feed on crop fruits and vegetables such as apples, peaches, soybeans, and even cotton. They're considered a significant problem for farmers.
Stink bugs do not enter structures looking for food or water. Instead, they usually infiltrate businesses looking to overwinter. When temperatures start dropping early in fall, stink bugs congregate around warm areas and eventually make their way inside tight places to enter dormancy. In spring, they return outside.
Reproduction and Life Cycle
Stink bug mating season happens during spring time. Females begin laying eggs 5 days after mating, and lay eggs in clusters of 20 to 30. Eggs are oval-shaped, white or pink, and only around 1/20" long. All eggs in a cluster hatch around the same time, approximately five days after they're hatched.
Immature or "nymph" stink bugs undergo several instars as they grow. Nymphs have deep red eyes and yellow or red abdomen. It takes approximately 60 days for newly-hatched stink bugs to pass through every nymphal stage and grow to adulthood. Once fully grown, stink bugs could live for several more years.
- The odorous liquid stink bugs secrete also contains a pheromone which attracts other stink bugs. Stink bugs may secrete their odor when they find a warm, heat-reflective surface in order to signal other stink bugs.
- Though stink bugs are considered a considerable economic pest for farmers, they can't harm most other businesses or residential structures. They do not inflict structural damage or feed or reproduce indoors.
- Stink bugs are effective flyers when fully-grown. They may fly relatively long distances to seek mates and food sources. Stink bugs may also make a surprising amount of noise when flying.
- Penn State University Brown Marmorated stink bug fact sheet
- US Department of Agriculture Brown Marmorated stink bug invasive species profile
- Stop Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs at stopbmsb.org