Brown Marmorated Stink Bug: Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) is an invasive pest originating from Japan, Korea, and China.

It was accidentally introduced to the United States near Allentown, Pennsylvania, in 2001 and has since become a widespread agricultural and nuisance pest.

Having a shield-shaped body with brown mottling, and measuring between 14 and 17 mm in length, it is roughly the size of a U.S. dime.

This insect has piercing-sucking mouthparts, which are straw-like stylets that suck plant juices.

BMSBs prefer to feed on reproductive structures like fruits, pods, and seeds and affect a wide range of plants, including fruit, vegetable, and grain crops.

In Oregon, for example, the stink bug has been damaging hazelnut crops.

Apart from their impact on agriculture, Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs are also nuisance pests that invade buildings, seeking shelter during the colder months.

Their distinctive odor when crushed or disturbed has earned them the name “stink bug.” As a result, they can be problematic for homeowners and businesses alike.

Identification and Origin

Physical Characteristics

Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs (Halyomorpha halys) have some distinct features that set them apart:

  • Adult bugs are shield-shaped and range between 14 and 17 mm long, roughly the size of a U.S. dime1
  • Brown mottling texture on their bodies
  • Alternating broad light and dark bands on their abdomen edges and last two antennal segments1

It also has five nymphal stages (instars) that are more brightly colored with red and black2.

Habitat and Range

Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs are native to East Asia, including countries like China and Japan3.

They were accidentally introduced into the US in the late 1990s and were first found in Allentown, Pennsylvania3.

Since then, they have spread to almost every state, primarily in the Eastern and Midwestern US, as well as parts of Canada3.

These bugs are also found in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand3.

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug typically feeds on leaves, stems, fruits, pods, and seeds using their piercing-sucking mouthparts4.

They prefer reproductive plant structures, and are known agricultural pests to fruit, vegetable, and grain crops4.

Life Cycle and Reproduction

Eggs and Development

The life cycle of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug begins with eggs laid by adult females during spring and throughout summer. These eggs are:

  • Light green or yellow in color
  • Elliptical-shaped
  • Found in clusters of 20-30

Once hatched, the nymphs undergo five developmental stages before reaching adulthood. Key characteristics of these stages include:

  • Five-segmented antennae
  • Alternating black and white markings on the hind legs
  • Size ranging from 1/2 to 5/8 inches in adults

Mating and Breeding

Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs mate in spring and continue breeding until autumn.

Their mating habits contribute to the growth of their population. Here’s a comparison table of some factors affecting population growth:

Factors Impact on Population Growth
Mating Season Increases during spring and autumn
Breeding Capacity Females lay numerous egg clusters
Developmental Stages Gradual growth from nymphs to adults

Examples of the stink bug’s mating habits include aggregating on host plants and using chemical signals to attract mates.

In areas where they’re an agricultural pest, these breeding behaviors can heavily impact fruit, vegetable, and grain crops.

Impacts on Agriculture

Fruit and Vegetable Damage

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) is well known for causing damage to a variety of fruit and vegetable crops.

They have a straw-like stylet which allows them to suck plant juices, often targeting reproductive structures like fruits, pods, and seeds1.

Some affected crops include:

  • Apples2
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Cherries4
  • Apricots
  • Grapes
  • Tomatoes3
  • Peppers
  • Lima beans
  • Soybeans5
  • Corn6

BMSB has a significant effect on fruit trees, resulting in damage to the fruit itself7.

Economic Losses

Due to their heavy feeding on agricultural crops, Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs have caused significant economic losses in affected regions8.

Farmers growing fruit, vegetables, and other crops may face lower crop yield and reduced market value9 for their produce.

Below is a comparison table of selected crops and the economic losses caused by BMSB:

Crop Economic Losses
Apples 37% loss in mid-Atlantic region10
Peaches 25% loss in mid-Atlantic region11
Soybeans $37 million estimated losses in 201012

In addition to direct damage to crops, the presence of BMSB may also cause increased costs for farmers due to monitoring, management, and control efforts13.

Prevention and Control Methods

Pesticides and Insecticides

Using chemical control for Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs can be challenging, as insecticides have a short-lived effect and resistance development has been observed. However, they may provide temporary relief.

Home Remedies

Simple methods can be employed to prevent and control stink bug infestations:

  • Soapy water: Fill a spray bottle with water and a small amount of dish soap. Spray the mixture directly onto the stink bugs to kill them
  • Sealing structures: Prevent bugs from entering your home by sealing gaps in doors and windows, and repairing screens
  • Trapping: DIY traps can be made with common household items, like a water bottle with a small amount of fruit inside to attract stink bugs

Biological Control

Introducing natural predators can help control stink bug populations. Examples include:

  • Spined Soldier Bug: A predatory insect that preys on stink bug eggs and larvae
  • Green Stink Bug: A native species that compete with Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs for resources
Predator Advantages Disadvantages
Spined Soldier Bug Targets eggs and larvae, reducing reproduction May require release in large numbers
Green Stink Bug Native competitor helps control the population Can be considered a pest as well

Biological control methods contribute to a long-term, sustainable approach to managing stink bug populations, reducing the need for chemical treatments.

Seasonal Behavior and Home Infestations

Attracted to Warmth and Light

Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs are attracted to warmth and light during the stink bug season, which usually starts in late May.

As the weather gets colder, these bugs search for warm places to take shelter and may enter your home through:

  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Chimneys
  • Siding gaps
  • Attic vents

Keep in mind that stink bugs are generally harmless and do not bite. However, they can release an unpleasant odor when disturbed.

Dealing with Infestations in Homes

If you find stink bugs in your home, there are several steps you can take to manage the infestation:

  1. Seal entry points: Examine your home for any gaps and cracks and seal them using caulk or weatherstripping. Install screens on windows, doors, and attic vents to block their easy entry.
  2. Remove stink bugs carefully: If you see stink bugs inside, avoid crushing them to prevent the release of their unpleasant odor. Use a vacuum cleaner or a piece of paper to gently pick them up and dispose of them outdoors.

International Regulations and Policies

Quarantine and Inspection

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) is an invasive species native to Asia. To protect agriculture, several countries have established strict regulations.

For example, Australia has strict quarantine policies. They classify BMSB as a high-risk pest.

Importers must follow specific guidelines for products arriving from risk countries. These include:

  • Pre-shipment inspection
  • Mandatory treatment certificate

In the United States, Virginia is proactively managing BMSB infestations. They conduct regular inspections to detect the bug early.

It’s essential to take preventive actions. For instance, some authorities recommend using natural predators like coriander as a deterrent.

Research and Knowledge Advances

Field Trapping and Pheromones

Recent studies in the Journal of Pest Science have explored new ways to control brown marmorated stink bugs through field trapping techniques.

One approach involves using geometric isomers of the pheromone methyl 2,4,6-decatrienoate.

These isomers help attract the bugs, which can then be effectively trapped.

Some advantages of field trapping and pheromones include:

  • Non-toxic
  • Targeted pest control
  • Less environmental impact

However, there are some downsides as well:

  • Requires continuous monitoring
  • May not be effective in larger areas

Invasive Species Management

Effective management of invasive species like the brown marmorated stink bug is essential to prevent potential harm to agriculture and native ecosystems.

In countries like Switzerland, researchers are seeking new ways to control this bug.

To effectively manage the spread of this invasive species, it is crucial to embrace a combination of approaches while also staying informed about new advances in field trapping and invasive species management.

Conclusion

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) is an invasive pest that poses significant challenges to agriculture and homeowners alike.

Originating from East Asia, its accidental introduction to the US has led to widespread agricultural damage and nuisance infestations in homes.

With a distinctive shield-shaped body and an unpleasant odor when disturbed, the BMSB feeds on a variety of crops, causing economic losses.

While chemical control methods offer temporary relief, research into field trapping and biological control methods provides hope for more sustainable solutions.

For homeowners, sealing entry points and careful removal are key to managing infestations.

As the BMSB continues to spread, understanding its behavior, impact, and control methods is essential for both farmers and the general public.

Footnotes

  1. US EPA – Brown Marmorated Stink Bug 2 3
  2. Rutgers NJAES – How to Identify 2
  3. UMN Extension – Brown marmorated stink bug 2 3 4 5
  4. OSU Extension Service – The brown marmorated stink bug 2 3 4
  5. https://ag.umass.edu/fruit/resources/brown-marmorated-stink-bug
  6. https://www.journals.elsevier.com/journal-of-agricultural-and-food-chemistry/
  7. https://www.epa.gov/safepestcontrol/brown-marmorated-stink-bug
  8. https://extension.oregonstate.edu/pests-weeds-diseases/insects/brown-marmorated-stink-bug
  9. https://ag.umass.edu/fruit/resources/brown-marmorated-stink-bug
  10. https://www.journals.elsevier.com/journal-of-agricultural-and-food-chemistry/
  11. https://www.journals.elsevier.com/journal-of-agricultural-and-food-chemistry/
  12. https://www.journals.elsevier.com/journal-of-agricultural-and-food-chemistry/
  13. https://extension.umn.edu/yard-and-garden-insects/brown-marmorated-stink-bug

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

North eastern PA
Location: north eastern pennsylvania
December 27, 2010 10:03 am
i have repeatidly found this bug in the curtins over my windows. that seems to be the only place i ever find them. i have found over 10 of them this fall season. all in the curtins over the windows.
Signature: any way

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Dear any way,
This is a Brown Marmorated Stink Bug,
Halyomorpha halys, an agricultural pest from Asia that was accidentally introduced to North America in Allentown, PA, according to BugGuide

The species has spread to many surrounding states as well as the West Coast.  According to BugGuide, it feeds upon “Mostly fruits and other crops. Considered a major agricultural pest in Asia, with potential for causing significant damage to crops in the United States.

BugGuide also indicates:  “may invade homes in the winter by the hundreds” where they become a nuisance, though they will not actually damage the home or its contents and they are not dangerous to humans or pets.

Letter 2 – Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

What kind of bug is this?
Location: Yonkers, NY
November 13, 2011 10:42 pm
i have found a couple of these bugs in my house. I’m not sure where they came from. Could you please help me identify the type and maybe advise extermination?
Signature: Brian

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Hi Brian,
Now that you know that this is a Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, you should be able to find countless links online of this invasive exotic species.

Letter 3 – Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Bugs in my Kitchen
January 12, 2010
I’m noticing many of these bugs that are always showing up mostly in my Kitchen. They appear mostly during the colder months. They are 6 legged mottled brown in appearance with a light/dark rear edge that gives it a jagged look.

Each bug always show up as roughly the same size each time – about 1/2″ long x 3/8″ wide. They are slow moving and I think they have wings.
Thanks for your help!
Gary Schneider
Central NJ

Tree Stink Bug
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Hi Gary,
The reason you are finding Tree Stink Bugs in the genus Brochymena in your house is that they seek shelter indoors when the weather begins to cool.  They hibernate and become active again in the spring.  They will not harm your home, its furnishings, or its inhabitants.

Corrected by Eric Eaton
Hi, Daniel:
The “tree stink bug” is actually a “brown marmorated stink bug,” Halyomorpha halys, a fairly recently introduced species from Asia that is becoming widespread.  Pennsylvania was the site of its introduction, so no doubt they are quite common there now.

They are well known for congregating on, and sometimes inside, homes and buildings during the colder months.  They are harmless, though don’t smell very good if you grab one.
Eric

Letter 4 – Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

what’s this bug
We’ve been finding these bugs in our attic and windows throughout the year. They’ve been showing their little faces on warm winter days too. We live in Pittsburgh, PA.
Thanks for any insight.
Joe

Hi Joe,
We thought this was a Brochymena, but Eric Eaton corrected us. He writes: ” The Brochymena is actually the brown marmorated stink bug, an introduced species. I have not yet committed the scientific name to memory, sorry.”

Letter 5 – Brown Marmorated Stink Bug checks out posting of Stink Bug

Stink Bug helps identify self
May 16, 2010
We’ve had brown marmorated stink bugs here (in Central Jersey) since the fall of 2007. The first time I saw one was the day after I saw it posted on your site.

So when this one decided to walk on my monitor, I pulled up the page and snapped a shot. (sorry it’s a bit blurry; s/he didn’t stay long). Thought you’d find it amusing.
By the way, my kids want to know CAN stink bugs bite? We know they’ve never bitten us, but could they?
Sara
central NJ

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Hi Sara,
You are right.  We do find your photo terribly amusing.  We would say that Stink Bugs might be able to bite, but we have not heard of an instance.  The most likely biters are probably the predatory species.

Letter 6 – Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Unknown Bug
Location: Los Angeles, California
January 4, 2011 2:21 am
I’ve found about 4 of these across my apartment through the last 2 months and I have no idea what it is.
Signature: Nicely

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Dear Nicely,
We are not terribly excited to learn from your email that the invasive Brown Marmorated Stink Bug has made its way to Los Angeles where our offices are held.  It is already quite plentiful in Maryland and surrounding states.  BugGuide indicates that it has been reported from the west coast as well.

Letter 7 – Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

What kind of bug???
Location: Northeast
February 26, 2011 11:03 pm
Please help identify this occasional bug. We live in Long Island,N.Y.
Signature: Paul Allocca

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Hi Paul,
This is a Brown Marmorated Stink Bug,
Halyomorpha halys, an invasive species native to Asia that is expanding its introduced range in Eastern North America.  We shudder to think that the USPS is behind this range expansion.

Thanks for the help…..I looked it up some more and look pretty harmless as far as being in the house goes.Thanks again.
Thank you,
Paul Allocca

Letter 8 – Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

What is this?
Location: Lower New York
February 1, 2012 7:24 am
Hi, Do you know what kind of bug this is? I get them occasionally in the den of my house, but lately much more than usual. I have noticed it puts out a strong odor when messed with sometimes. I live in NY, in Westchester County, just above Manhattan.
Signature: Andrew

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Greetings Andrew,
This is a Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, an invasive species introduced from China that has become established in North America.  Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs frequently seek shelter indoors as the weather begins to cool. 

We also have many native species of Stink Bugs and there are other True Bugs that seek shelter indoors during the winter.  They will not harm the home or its occupants, however, if plentiful, they can become a nuisance. 

We featured links to these hibernating Hemipterans in our Bug of the Month feature for January 2012.

Thank you!  Cool, I thought it was a carpet bug.  Which to me sounds worse, but these stink bugs stink and are annoying.

Letter 9 – Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Subject: roach?
Location: Portland, Oregon 97266
December 30, 2012 5:06 pm
Hi! I’ve had 4 of these in my room, and found a couple dead downstairs. Looking through your site I *think* it’s some kind of roach.
The bugs seem to be attracted to light, both natural and lamps (I found the first two in my lamp, and the other two were on or around the window on a sunny day. They fly, but not very quickly.

Should I be worried about them harming my home or myself?
Thank you for your time, and your site! I’ve used it several times to ID bugs since I moved to Oregon from Minnesota!
Signature: Lynnette Carlson

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Dear Lynnette,
This is a Brown Marmorated Stink Bug,
Halyomorpha halys, and we just learned on BugGuide that it also has two other common names:  Interstate Bug and Asian Stink Bug.  This is an introduced species that does not have any natural predators in North America, so it is increasing in numbers and expanding its range unchecked. 

Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs frequently enter homes as the weather cools so that they can escape harsh temperatures and hibernate until spring.  We suspect that you are finding individuals that have entered you home to escape winter conditions. 

They will not harm you or your home, though they are a nuisance.  Additionally, their increasing numbers might be contributing to the decline of native species that compete for food and habitat.

Letter 10 – Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Subject: Is or is not a marmalade stink bug?! Invading my Oregon home in droves…
Location: Aloha, Oregon (about 20 miles west of Portland)
January 17, 2013 8:10 pm
Hello! I just love this site, and my children (all girls!) and I have had a blast looking through the posts and pictures. Ive always taught them it’s bad luck to kill a bug, so we always catch anything we find indoors and free it outside. (If kitty doesn’t get it first!)

These fellows have been here since we moved into the rental home two years ago. In spring they COVER the outside of the home, and seem to find their way in pretty consistently. This little fellow looks a whole lot like the marmaladed stink bug, however I have not noticed any smell.

They are everywhere in my house! We’re in Oregon, and there are several big trees all around our two-story home, and being that it’s winter (Jan) I don’t have any windows open and I’m still finding them everywhere inside.

I don’t think they bite, but I do prefer my house insect free! I’d like to let the home owners know what they are, and I also saw an article from the Oregon dept of wildlife asking residents in our state to report if they have these, as apparently they ate bad for our crops? Thanks so much in advance for your response! Keep up the fantastic work.
Angela Griffin and her 4 girls,
Aloha, Oregon
Jan 17th 2013
Signature: angieleigh, lover of bees

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Dear Angela and her 4 girls,
We are incredibly amused at the name you have coined:  “Marmalade Stink Bug” but it is actually a Brown Marmorated Stink Bug.  According to the Free Dictionary, marmorated means: 

“Having a marbled or streaked appearance.”  They will not harm you, your home nor its furnishings, though they might try to feed on houseplants they find palatable.  If you have seen local coverage requesting that they be reported, we would urge you to contact the authorities. 

Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs are an invasive, exotic species from Asia and they do not have natural predators in North America, so they are spreading rapidly.

Thank you so much for responding! I’m glad you got a kick out of my new name for it…blame it on my three year old who for the last two days has been muttering “marmladed stink bug” to herself as she plays.

Talk about amusing! I also taught her the word “entomologist” just in case she wants to add that to the things she wants to be when she grows up…she is utterly fascinated with buggies of any kind. 🙂

I wasn’t sure if that was one or not because we never have noticed any sort of odor, (of course we don’t kill or crush them) and the marbling looks different than the pictures I looked up.

I’m glad to know that is what they are! The local authorities will definitely want to know, because as you mentioned they don’t have any natural preditos, so the farmers are having a heck of a time with them.  Thank you so much again for getting back to me on this, we appreciate it so much! Keep up the great work!
Angela and the girls

Hi again Angela,
We have often heard that other bugs like Western Conifer Seed Bugs which are Leaf Footed Bugs, have a stronger odor than Stink Bugs.  We guess that all Stink Bugs don’t have the same ability to produce an offensive odor.

Letter 11 – Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Subject: Identify this bug
Location: Burbank, CA
January 10, 2014 8:46 pm
I have seen this bug twice in our kitchen. The first one, I let go in the garden several weeks ago. Tonight this one appeared on the window sill in the kitchen.
My question is, is he/she beneficial or harmful insect to have around.
Regards,
Signature: Doug

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Dear Doug,
This Brown Marmorated Stink Bug,
Halyomorpha halys, is an invasive, exotic species that was accidentally introduced from Asia. 

According to BugGuide:  “first collected in 1998 in Allentown, PA, but probably arrived several years earlier damage reported in the US to apples, pears, peaches, cherries, corn, tomatoes, peppers, soybean, ornamentals… .” 

It is anticipated that as the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug spreads unchecked across North America, it will result in a significant threat to our agricultural business. 

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug also creates a nuisance for homeowners as it seeks shelter from inclement weather by attempting to hibernate inside homes and other buildings when temperatures begin to drop.

Letter 12 – Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Subject: Beautiful Brown Bug
Location: Michigan, USA
January 12, 2014 7:38 pm
Hello 🙂
I keep finding this bug inside my home. I live in Michigan, USA and it’s currently January. I found this lovely creature hanging out in my bedroom this morning. I tried googling various combinations and couldn’t find a thing- any thoughts on his/her name? Also, I am pretty sure it can fly or semi-fly, but it doesn’t do it often–mostly walks.
Thanks! 🙂
Good day! 🙂
Signature: MichiganGirl

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Dear MichiganGirl,
As the range of the invasive, exotic, Brown Marmorated Stink Bug expands to include much of the western, eastern and midwestern portions of North America (See BugGuide), the identification requests we receive get more plentiful, especially during the cooler months when it seeks shelter indoors to hibernate over the winter. 

It is generally expected that as populations of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug increase, it will become a significant threat to our agricultural business as it is such a general feeder.

Dear whatsthatbug/Daniel,
Thank you soo much for your speedy response and figuring out which bug has been visiting me! 🙂 It means a lot to me and you guys rock!!! 🙂
Keep up the great work and making bugs more loveable!
Sincerely,
MichiganGirl.

Letter 13 – Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Subject: What is this?
Location: Central New York
February 23, 2014 10:18 am
These bugs keep appearing in my house and do not know why. It came at the beginning of winter and is still here
Signature: Anonymous

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Dear Anonymous,
The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is an invasive, exotic species that was introduced to North American and it is becoming a significant agricultural pest.  In addition to the threat it poses to ornamental and food plants, it is a nuisance because it enters homes to hibernate when cold weather sets in.

Letter 14 – Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Subject: What’s this bug?
Location: Southern Ohio-North America
March 6, 2014 7:20 pm
This bug was in my living room floor. It is the beginning of March and I live in a small housing complex in southern Ohio. I’m quite a clean freak and now panicked that I have bugs! Help me please 🙂
Signature: N/A

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Dear N/A,
This Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is an invasive, exotic species from China that is spreading across North America.  The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug often enters homes to hibernate when the weather cools.

Letter 15 – Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Subject: what’s this bug?
Location: southern california
September 18, 2014 5:24 pm
Found this critter on my front screen door. It’s been in the low 100’s for the past week. This is in Southern California, about 30 miles east of Los Angeles . I put him in a tiny jar overnight and opened the jar when I got home to photograph him; got two shots and he flew away.

Is it some kinda moth? At first I was kinda freaked, thought it was a huge tick but then I saw he had only six legs legs so I calmed down….what is this thing!!
Signature: john roush

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Dear John,
This is a Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, an Asian species that was first reported in Allentown, Pennsylvania in the late 1990s, and which has spread across much of eastern North America. 

In recent years, Southern California sightings have become more frequent.  The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is both an agricultural pest and a nuisance to the average person as it frequently enters homes to hibernate as the weather cools.

Letter 16 – Brown Marmorated Stink Bug enters home

Subject: Bug
Location: Pacific Northwest
September 26, 2016 5:24 pm
These bugs invade us every Fall through Winter inside and outside! How do we get rid of these pests?
Signature: Theresa

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Dear Theresa,
This is a Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, an invasive, exotic species accidentally introduced to North America from Asia that quickly spread across the country.  They are known for entering homes to hibernate.  Though we do not provide extermination advice, and while we do not endorse extermination, we have no problem with people who attempt to eliminate Invasive Exotic species.

Letter 17 – Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Subject:  Hi I really want to know what this bug is thank you so much
Geographic location of the bug:  North georgia, usa
Date: 03/29/2019
Time: 03:29 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found a bug and I read that deathwatch beetles are a sign of bad omens. I’m hoping its can you tell me what bug this is? Thank you so much.
How you want your letter signed:  Kevin Kang (superstitious guy)

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Dear Kevin,
According to BugGuide, the larvae of Deathwatch Beetles are wood borers, but there is no mention about “bad omens.” 

This is a Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, an invasive exotic species, that bad omen or not, poses a significant threat to North American agriculture.  Since its introduction in 1998, it has spread across the entire North American continent.

Authors

  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

22 thoughts on “Brown Marmorated Stink Bug: Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners”

  1. I’m in California as well (up north though, in the Bay Area) and I get approached all the time for identification on this one. I see a few of these every month, and I’m not too thrilled about it either.

    Reply
    • Hi Jessi,
      Yes, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug has gotten a foothold in Southern California. It seems our only hope in North America is to find a natural predator from China that will target the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug without negatively impacting native species. We have already posted a newspaper clipping from the Youngstown Vindicator regarding this search.

      Reply
  2. I also live in Aloha (that’s pronounced uh-low-uh, not ah-low-ha), Oregon and in early spring 2013 I saw at least one a day! They’re everwhere, it seems. I dont know whats up with all the infestations going on around here (97007). Besides the ‘Marmaladed’ Stink Bugs flourishing me and quite a few of my neighbors are also dealing with Indian meal moths, which seem to get into everything in the kitchen, and those really small black ‘sugar’ ants, even in December and Janurary, which is just plain weird! I grew up in this area (I’m almost 40) and only ever saw 1 marmaladed stinker, no meal moths, and the tiny ants were only a summertime problem.
    I understand the stink bugs are an invasive species, but what about the other itty-bitty pests? Do you think the population explosion could be due to global warming? Last winter (2012/13) was very mild compared to the last few winters, so could less days below freezing be part of the growing insect population? I prefer to not harm any animals including insects, even wolf spiders and bold jumpers I take out back and release into the local wetlands behind where I live, but my girls and most of their friends are really scared of the stink bugs. Is there anything that can be done to detract them(the bugs, not the kids) from the area? Theres also a lot of Isabella tiger moths too, but the cats keep their population in check. Apparently kitties think they taste good.
    I found whatsthatbug.com just today and…omigosh I’ve been here for 7 hours! Thank you for taking the time to host such a wonderful, amazing, informative, and fun website! You managed to monopolize my day off! 🙂
    Aloha from Aloha,
    Hope C.

    Reply
  3. I also live in Aloha (that’s pronounced uh-low-uh, not ah-low-ha), Oregon and in early spring 2013 I saw at least one a day! They’re everwhere, it seems. I dont know whats up with all the infestations going on around here (97007). Besides the ‘Marmaladed’ Stink Bugs flourishing me and quite a few of my neighbors are also dealing with Indian meal moths, which seem to get into everything in the kitchen, and those really small black ‘sugar’ ants, even in December and Janurary, which is just plain weird! I grew up in this area (I’m almost 40) and only ever saw 1 marmaladed stinker, no meal moths, and the tiny ants were only a summertime problem.
    I understand the stink bugs are an invasive species, but what about the other itty-bitty pests? Do you think the population explosion could be due to global warming? Last winter (2012/13) was very mild compared to the last few winters, so could less days below freezing be part of the growing insect population? I prefer to not harm any animals including insects, even wolf spiders and bold jumpers I take out back and release into the local wetlands behind where I live, but my girls and most of their friends are really scared of the stink bugs. Is there anything that can be done to detract them(the bugs, not the kids) from the area? Theres also a lot of Isabella tiger moths too, but the cats keep their population in check. Apparently kitties think they taste good.
    I found whatsthatbug.com just today and…omigosh I’ve been here for 7 hours! Thank you for taking the time to host such a wonderful, amazing, informative, and fun website! You managed to monopolize my day off! 🙂
    Aloha from Aloha,
    Hope C.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the compliments. INdian Meal Moths are a cosmopolitan pest species found in stored grain products. It is possible to buy tainted products like corn meal from the grocery. You should check the pantry to find what they have infested and eliminate the source. They often infest our own oatmeal if we don’t eat quickly. The ants might be Argentine Ants and they might be advancing their range throughout the west coast. Populations spike in the summer, but this invasive species can be found year round in Los Angeles.

      Reply
  4. I found the same bug in my home. I thought I saw something whiz by while watching TV. . .fell asleep and when I awoke, there it was on the TV screen. I captured it. I believe it came from the box of Florida oranges I bought for a friend just before Christmas. Since the friend never picked up the oranges, and it was so frigid here, the oranges spoiled. How do they reproduce? Do they bite? Carry diseases? I swatted it and when it fell to the floor it made quite a noise for a bug! It really frightened me. I thought it was a stink bug, but was not sure.

    Reply
    • To the best of our knowledge, Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs do not carry diseases and we have not received any reports about them biting people. They reproduce when a male Brown Marmorated Stink Bug mates with a female Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. The female lays her eggs on an acceptable host plant. The eggs hatch into young nymphs which eat, grow, molt and eventually mature, beginning the cycle over again.

      Reply
  5. I found this same bug today when I opened my eyes and wondered what was so wide with weird legs doing above my bed on the wall. Online it says they hide in certain areas, but this bug was on my wall. I captured it, but before capturing it I tried to see if it would move when I stuck something by it and nope it just stood there. Online says they come in and then go into a state of hibernation. Maybe it was hibernating for now. Last night I kept hearing something though that bugged my ear, thought something entered it, now waking to find this large bug I been curious.

    Online and your picture above of the bug next to a dime, it says it’s about that size. But, my bug is like a nickel size, and with its legs out about the weight of a quarter. So is mine the largest reported stink bug in America? Mine is in Oregon, also in a county that isn’t listed on our government sites saying where this bug is seen. So it’s in an area where it hasn’t been recorded I guess. Right now it’s moving about in the container, it only moved its wings a few times maybe that was its stink to come out. Not sure. I also have these smaller brown winged bugs in the house, I can kill 20 of them to waking up the next day to finding like 20 more, then next day finding like 20 more. They keep showing up every day, but only thing is there isn’t really anything opened leading outside to inside where these bugs keeping appearing, like in the bathroom and kitchen, are they coming through the vents? The little brown but long thin bugs are yet to be found online, so I don’t have a name for them as of yet, but they fly a lot and seem to be single or in pairs on walls and above your head, some hanging on another as it moves on the walls and such. Then there are these weird clear-like crawling bugs, they seem oddly yellowish with something pink inside, they come with tiny like red heads so tiny though and their bodies stretch as they move. I find them only high on the walls or ceiling walking along the crack lines of the walls. I caught three, normally I kill them so they don’t become more brown bugs what I think they might be. You never see them on the lower parts of any walls. I would post pictures, but I don’t see where I can on here. How did she or you guys enter a picture of the stink bug above? Let me add some pics? Unless you know the three bugs I speak of, found inside the home so far. But like I said, my stink bug is massive. You thought it looked like a beetle, but to me mine looks more like a giant tick.

    Reply
  6. I found this same bug today when I opened my eyes and wondered what was so wide with weird legs doing above my bed on the wall. Online it says they hide in certain areas, but this bug was on my wall. I captured it, but before capturing it I tried to see if it would move when I stuck something by it and nope it just stood there. Online says they come in and then go into a state of hibernation. Maybe it was hibernating for now. Last night I kept hearing something though that bugged my ear, thought something entered it, now waking to find this large bug I been curious.

    Online and your picture above of the bug next to a dime, it says it’s about that size. But, my bug is like a nickel size, and with its legs out about the weight of a quarter. So is mine the largest reported stink bug in America? Mine is in Oregon, also in a county that isn’t listed on our government sites saying where this bug is seen. So it’s in an area where it hasn’t been recorded I guess. Right now it’s moving about in the container, it only moved its wings a few times maybe that was its stink to come out. Not sure. I also have these smaller brown winged bugs in the house, I can kill 20 of them to waking up the next day to finding like 20 more, then next day finding like 20 more. They keep showing up every day, but only thing is there isn’t really anything opened leading outside to inside where these bugs keeping appearing, like in the bathroom and kitchen, are they coming through the vents? The little brown but long thin bugs are yet to be found online, so I don’t have a name for them as of yet, but they fly a lot and seem to be single or in pairs on walls and above your head, some hanging on another as it moves on the walls and such. Then there are these weird clear-like crawling bugs, they seem oddly yellowish with something pink inside, they come with tiny like red heads so tiny though and their bodies stretch as they move. I find them only high on the walls or ceiling walking along the crack lines of the walls. I caught three, normally I kill them so they don’t become more brown bugs what I think they might be. You never see them on the lower parts of any walls. I would post pictures, but I don’t see where I can on here. How did she or you guys enter a picture of the stink bug above? Let me add some pics? Unless you know the three bugs I speak of, found inside the home so far. But like I said, my stink bug is massive. You thought it looked like a beetle, but to me mine looks more like a giant tick.

    Reply
  7. weight of a quarter: I meant, width*. where these bugs keeping appearing: keep* tiny like red heads so tiny though and their bodies stretch as they move <–I think these are larva or some kind of baby bug as it's alive and moving about on the walls.
    Location found: Albany, Oregon.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2012/07/oregons_nurseries_use_bug-on-b.html
    "Discovered by chance at a Portland home in 2004, the stink bug has since been found in Hood River and Jackson counties, home to high-value fruit orchards." But mine isn't found in those areas.

    Mine so far had no smell. maybe now in the container it let lose a nasty one, but I'm not checking that. Lol.

    Reply
  8. weight of a quarter: I meant, width*. where these bugs keeping appearing: keep* tiny like red heads so tiny though and their bodies stretch as they move <–I think these are larva or some kind of baby bug as it's alive and moving about on the walls.
    Location found: Albany, Oregon.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2012/07/oregons_nurseries_use_bug-on-b.html
    "Discovered by chance at a Portland home in 2004, the stink bug has since been found in Hood River and Jackson counties, home to high-value fruit orchards." But mine isn't found in those areas.

    Mine so far had no smell. maybe now in the container it let lose a nasty one, but I'm not checking that. Lol.

    Reply
  9. I just want to say thank you for identifying this bug! I found one in my home after rearranging my furniture. I now can sleep better knowing this pest is harmless.

    Thank you!

    Reply
  10. I just want to say thank you for identifying this bug! I found one in my home after rearranging my furniture. I now can sleep better knowing this pest is harmless.

    Thank you!

    Reply
  11. Actually, I have a friend (N) with an allergy to this Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. If they land on her she gets a welt and if they actually spray their stink on her she gets blistered.
    Another friend (A) first pointed them out because their stink spray bothered her cat and now the cat won’t go near them if she can avoid it. This cat is a bug catcher of all sorts of bugs but once sprayed she left them alone.
    I was inundated while camping in my pop-up camper at a campground beside some farm fields, there were literally dozens that got inside when I opened the door on the sunny side of the camper. I later learned that they are clumsy fliers and usually crawl upwards after landing looking for crevices. They also hide in anything. I was finding them in boxes, clothing drawers, and all the cubby holes in the camper. Their thin shape makes it easy to slide into a thin slit and hunker down to hide,
    I asked a fellow camper how to get rid of them and learned that if you step on or otherwise squash them it attracts more to their pheromones. There is a solution to the “But if I open the door, more will come in.” They are easy to trap in a sandwich baggie which is about 1/4 full of water with a squirt of dish soap. open the baggie, use the edge to knock them off of their perch and into the soapy solution, They drown.
    I experimented with a spray of peppermint extract and water and was able to use it to drive the ones that got between the screen and the window out without squashing them. I use this to discourage spiders also. I do not feel bad about exterminating the bugs as they are an agricultural pest not native to our continent.
    I hope this can be of some use especially since they have migrated down the eastern seaboard to NC at least.

    Reply
    • Thanks so much for providing such interesting information about Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs, and invasive, exotic species that has quickly spread across North America, doubtless because they stow away in all manor of places provided by humans as they travel across the country.

      Reply
  12. Actually, I have a friend (N) with an allergy to this Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. If they land on her she gets a welt and if they actually spray their stink on her she gets blistered.
    Another friend (A) first pointed them out because their stink spray bothered her cat and now the cat won’t go near them if she can avoid it. This cat is a bug catcher of all sorts of bugs but once sprayed she left them alone.
    I was inundated while camping in my pop-up camper at a campground beside some farm fields, there were literally dozens that got inside when I opened the door on the sunny side of the camper. I later learned that they are clumsy fliers and usually crawl upwards after landing looking for crevices. They also hide in anything. I was finding them in boxes, clothing drawers, and all the cubby holes in the camper. Their thin shape makes it easy to slide into a thin slit and hunker down to hide,
    I asked a fellow camper how to get rid of them and learned that if you step on or otherwise squash them it attracts more to their pheromones. There is a solution to the “But if I open the door, more will come in.” They are easy to trap in a sandwich baggie which is about 1/4 full of water with a squirt of dish soap. open the baggie, use the edge to knock them off of their perch and into the soapy solution, They drown.
    I experimented with a spray of peppermint extract and water and was able to use it to drive the ones that got between the screen and the window out without squashing them. I use this to discourage spiders also. I do not feel bad about exterminating the bugs as they are an agricultural pest not native to our continent.
    I hope this can be of some use especially since they have migrated down the eastern seaboard to NC at least.

    Reply
  13. Are you killing my friends and entertainment?
    I have several in my house and smell if you squish them. my cat just paws them a couple of times and gets bored.
    They seem harmless unless my cat knocks over a lamp chasing one, lol.

    Reply
  14. Are you killing my friends and entertainment?
    I have several in my house and smell if you squish them. my cat just paws them a couple of times and gets bored.
    They seem harmless unless my cat knocks over a lamp chasing one, lol.

    Reply
  15. I’ve been reading about this bug. I’m from Fresno California and stayed in my 5th wheel in Eugene OR in October 2017. Over these months we fist found live bugs. Then dead ones but now today in our RV I killed 2 live ones. 3.2.2018. I am currently in corona California. I only looked this bug up tonight after i found live ones again.

    Reply

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