Predatory Stink Bug: All You Need to Know in a Nutshell

Predatory stink bugs are often misunderstood little creatures. Although some stink bug species can be a nuisance, these beneficial insects play an essential role in maintaining a healthy garden ecosystem. Unlike the infamous brown marmorated stink bug, which can cause damage to crops and invade homes, predatory stink bugs are gardeners’ friends, helping to control numerous insect pests.

These unique critters have a distinctive appearance and incredible appetite for garden pests. Among their favorite meals are over 100 species of insect pests that wreak havoc on plants, which they help control by hunting down and feeding on both nymphs and adult insects. Predatory stink bugs use their needle-like beaks to suck the body fluids from their prey, making them valuable allies in the fight against harmful insects.

So, how can you recognize a predatory stink bug? They usually have a shorter, stouter beak compared to their plant-feeding relatives and possess vibrant colors or markings that set them apart. For instance, the two-spotted stink bug showcases two vivid spots and an eye-catching keyhole pattern on its back. By understanding and appreciating the role these tiny creatures play in controlling unwanted pests, gardeners can foster a healthier and more balanced environment for their plants.

Predatory Stink Bug Basics

Stink Bug Biology

Predatory stink bugs are fascinating insects with unique features that set them apart from other bugs. Adults have shield-shaped bodies and wings, while younger bugs, called nymphs, go through several developmental stages before becoming adults. These bugs have stout beaks, which they use to feed on other insects by sucking out their body fluids. In comparison, herbivorous stink bugs have thinner beaks, roughly the same width as their antennae 1.

  • Key features:
    • Shield-shaped bodies
    • Beaks for feeding

Different Species

There are various species of predatory stink bugs, each with its own distinct characteristics and roles in the ecosystem. Some well-known species include:

  • Brown Marmorated Stink Bug: A widespread and economically significant pest.
  • Green Stink Bug: Known for its vibrant green color and economic importance.
  • Brown Stink Bug: A less common species often found in agricultural settings.
  • Florida Predatory Stink Bug (Euthyrhynchus floridanus): A beneficial insect that preys on plant-damaging bugs, beetles, and caterpillars.
  • Alcaeorrhynchus grandis: A less-explored species, dubbed the “Rough Stink Bug.”
  • Spined Soldier Bug: A notorious predatory species that can tackle insects larger than itself 2.

A comparison table can help distinguish the basic characteristics of these various species.

Species Color Economic Impact Predatory
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Brown/Gray Pests No
Green Stink Bug Green Pests No
Brown Stink Bug Brown Pests No
Florida Predatory Stink Bug Orange/Red Beneficial Yes
Rough Stink Bug Brown/Gray Unknown Yes
Spined Soldier Bug Brown Beneficial Yes

By understanding the biology and different species of predatory stink bugs, we can better appreciate their role in our ecosystem and how they benefit the environment by indirectly aiding in pest control.

Stink Bug Lifecycle and Habitats

Eggs and Nymphs

Predatory stink bugs lay clusters of 20-50 small, elliptical-shaped eggs that are white until they hatch. Hatching insects, called nymphs, go through several stages called instars as they grow into adults.

Some benefits of predatory stink bugs include:

  • They feed on over 100 species of insect pests
  • They attack insects larger than themselves
  • Both nymphs and adults help control insect populations

Adults and Reproduction

Adult predatory stink bugs have a shorter, stouter beak than the brown marmorated stink bug, which is a plant-eating pest. They lay their eggs mostly during May through August.

Habitats of stink bugs:

  • North America
  • Asia, including Japan

Overwintering and Hibernating

As winter approaches, stink bugs look for sheltered places to spend the colder months. They often choose locations such as:

  • Wood piles
  • Attics
  • Windowsills

Winter sites are called wintering sites, where they are mostly in a state of hibernation called overwintering. In the spring, they emerge from these sites and start their life cycle again.

Stink Bug Behavior

Feeding Habits

Predatory stink bugs are beneficial insects in gardens and agricultural settings, feeding on a variety of pest insects. They attack over 100 species of insect pests using their needle-like beak to suck out body fluids.

  • Example: Florida predatory stink bug preys on plant-damaging bugs, beetles, and caterpillars, although it plays a minor role in natural insect control source.

These insects are not picky eaters and can be distinguished from their herbivorous counterparts by their thicker beaks, which are at least twice as thick as their antennae source.

Flight and Mobility

Predatory stink bugs, like other flying insects, have wings allowing them to move around easily in search of food.

  • Example: The two-spotted stink bug is a generalist predator that uses its wings for mobility and features distinctive markings on its body for identification source.

These insects are known to be attracted by pheromones released by pests such as cicadas and moths, making them effective in controlling these pests in both gardens and agricultural settings.

Comparison Table of Predatory Stink Bugs and Herbivorous Stink Bugs

Feature Predatory Stink Bugs Herbivorous Stink Bugs
Beak thickness At least twice as thick as antennae As thin or thinner than antennae
Diet Insect pests Plants
Benefit to agriculture Pest control Pest

In summary, predatory stink bugs are beneficial insects in agriculture and gardens, controlling pests through their feeding habits and mobility. They can be distinguished from herbivorous stink bugs by their beak thickness and diet.

Predatory Stink Bug Benefits

Natural Predators

Predatory stink bugs are a gardener’s friend because they feed on more than 100 species of insect pests, unlike their relatives the brown marmorated stink bugs1. Both nymphs and adults attack insects larger than themselves, using their needle-like beak to suck the body fluids from their prey1. Examples of natural predator stink bugs are the spined soldier bug and the green stink bug3.

Entomologists often study predatory stink bugs to better understand their role in keeping pest populations under control. For instance, the Florida predatory stink bug preys on plant-damaging bugs, beetles, and caterpillars2.

Predatory Stink Bug Characteristics:

  • Feed on pests
  • Needle-like beak
  • Nymphs and adults are predators

Aiding Agriculture

Predatory stink bugs are beneficial to farmers because they help control damaging insects that affect crops. For example, the twospotted stink bug is a generalist predator, meaning it’s not a picky eater and helps control various pests4. One of its prey includes the economically important Colorado potato beetle4.

Although predatory stink bugs may not always play a major role in controlling pests, their presence still aids in managing populations of harmful insects, such as in Florida’s agriculture5.

Comparison Table: Predatory Stink Bugs vs. Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs

Predatory Stink Bugs Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs
Role in Nature Natural predator of pests Plant-damaging pests
Agricultural Impact Beneficial to farmers Harmful to crops
Feeding Habit Feed on insects Feed on plants

Dealing with Stink Bug Nuisance

Prevention and Home Sealing

To prevent stink bug invasion, seal entry points like gaps around windows, doors, and siding. One method to seal these gaps is using caulk. Regularly inspect your home for cracks and holes, and fix them promptly.

  • Pros: Effective, inexpensive
  • Cons: Requires maintenance

Traps and Removal Methods

There are various traps and removal methods to deal with stink bug nuisance:

  1. Soft and water: Fill a container with soapy water and knock stink bugs into it. They’ll drown quickly in the water.

    • Pros: Non-toxic, inexpensive
    • Cons: Limited effectiveness, manual labor
  2. Vacuum cleaner: Suck up the bugs with a vacuum cleaner. Be sure to empty the vacuum and clean it afterwards.

    • Pros: Faster than manual removal
    • Cons: May cause odor, maintenance required

Comparison Table

Method Pros Cons
Soft and water Non-toxic, inexpensive Limited effectiveness, manual labor
Vacuum cleaner Faster than manual removal May cause odor, maintenance required

Insecticides and Chemical Treatments

To reduce stink bug populations, a professional exterminator can use insecticides. Be cautious when using these treatments around humans and pets. Remember to follow label instructions to ensure safe handling and use.

  • Pros: Potentially effective
  • Cons: Toxic chemicals, not suitable for all households

Note: Stink bugs do not bite humans or pets, but their odor can be a nuisance in your home.

Health and Safety Concerns

Sting and Bite Reactions

Predatory stink bugs have a shorter, stouter beak compared to other stink bug species, which they use to suck fluids from their prey. However, predatory stink bugs do not sting or bite humans. In fact, they are beneficial insects, feeding on many species of insect pests that could harm your plants.

Allergies and Proteins

Although predatory stink bugs do not bite humans, some people may experience:

  • Allergic reactions to their proteins
  • Sensitivity to their odor

Be mindful when handling these bugs, especially if you have any known allergies or sensitivities.

Environmental and Property Impact

Unlike the brown marmorated stink bugs, predatory stink bugs do not pose any significant threat to the environment or property. Brown marmorated stink bugs can cause damage to crops, fabrics, and even drywall, while predatory stink bugs are mostly beneficial insects that help control other pests.

Predatory Stink Bugs Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs
Environmental Impact Minimal, mostly positive Can cause damage to crops
Property Impact Minimal Damages fabric and drywall

To maintain a balance in your garden and keep pests at bay, consider using alternative methods to controlling stink bugs instead of applying insecticides. This approach will help preserve the beneficial predatory stink bugs and maintain a healthier ecosystem.

Footnotes

  1. How to Distinguish Predatory From Plant-Feeding (Herbivorous) Stink Bugs 2 3

  2. Predatory Stink Bugs | University of Maryland Extension 2

  3. Oklahoma State University – OSU Extension

  4. NC State Extension – North Carolina State 2

  5. Euthyrhynchus floridanus (Linnaeus)

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 – Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymphs

 

Weird Bugs
Location: Spartanburg SC
May 19, 2011 8:41 am
We found this colony of bugs on a wooden saw horse at work…What are they? Never seen them before.
Signature: Melvin

Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymphs

Dear Melvin,
We just responded to another identification request for a Florida Predatory Stink Bug nymph,
Euthyrhynchus floridanus, but that photo was quite blurry and we chose not to post it.  Your photo is quite stunning.  This group of young nymphs will hunt in a pack before setting off on their own.  More information on the Florida Predatory Stink Bug can be found in our archives and BugGuide is always an excellent source of information for North American insects and other “bugs”.

Letter 2 – Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymphs

 

Beetle maybe?
Location: Charlotte Region, North Carolina
August 15, 2011 9:06 pm
Do you have any idea what these are? The picture doesn’t do their coloring justice. They were very bright blue and red and the black was very dark. When I disrupted them they ran to each other instead of just scattering. Thank you for your help!
Signature: Megan

Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymphs

Hi Megan,
Because of their bright coloration and their communal behavior while they are young, we get numerous requests to identify Florida Predatory Stink Bug nymphs,
Euthyrhynchus floridanus.  The adults are orange and black and they are called Halloween Bugs because of their coloration and the frequency of the sightings in late October.  See BugGuide for additional information.

Letter 3 – Bug of the Month November 2009: Halloween Bug or Florida Predatory Stink Bug

 

We received the following letter in such a timely manner that we thought we would choose it for the Bug of the Month for November.  Sadly, Halloween will have already passed, but adult Florida Predatory Stink Bugs will continue to appear.  We are combining that letter with a previous letter that shows the radically different immature insects that are known to feed in packs.  Curious readers can also turn to BugGuide for more information on the Florida Predatory Stink Bug or Halloween Bug.

Black/orange “jack o’lantern” beetle
October 26, 2009
We spotted this beetle on our trash toter lid on October 23. He was apparently out for a stroll – did not fly while we watched. His markings are striking – a built-in Halloween costume!
Patrice and Allen Sigmon
High Point, NC

Halloween Bug
Halloween Bug

Dear Patrice and Allen,
Though you did not realize it, you actually correctly identified your insect.  The Florida Predatory Stink Bug, Euthyrhunchus floridanus, is frequently called the Halloween Bug because of its coloration and markings as well as its timely appearance.  It is also the time of the month for us to select a Bug of the Month for November 2009, and we plan to use your letter and photo as a point of departure, and include an image of the startlingly different immature insects as well.

Immature Florida Predatory Stink Bugs communally feeding on a Carpenter Bee

Red and black what I think is a beetle eating a bumble bee
Sat, Jun 20, 2009 at 1:42 PM
I was outside working in my yard when I looked up on my awning and saw what I thought was a bumble bee holding a flower, but then I saw some liquid drop and I decided to look closer. When I did, I saw that it was a bunch of small red and black beetles eating the bumble bee. I was kind of shocked. I just moved to northern North Carolina and have seen some strange bugs, but these ones eating the bumble bee is the strangest. If you could, please tell me what this is.
Angelica
Reidsville, NC

Florida Predatory Stink Bugs eat Bumble Bee
Florida Predatory Stink Bugs eat Bumble Bee

Hi Angelica,
These are immature Florida Predatory Sting Bugs, Euthyrhynchus floridanus, sometimes called Halloween Bugs because of the black and orange coloration of the adults, which are winged. According to BugGuide, they are: “Predatory on other insects, including caterpillars, beetle. Nymphs, and to some extent, adults, are gregarious, and may attack large prey in groups.” Your photo nicely illustrates this. Despite what your photo illustrates, the Florida Predatory Stink Bug is a beneficial insect because of the caterpillars and beetles it consumes. We are guessing Bees, since they can easily fly away, are not commonly eaten.

Update: From Eric Eaton
Sat, 20 Jun 2009 17:12:31 -0700 (PDT)
The predatory stink bugs appear to be scavenging the remains of a dead carpenter bee (it is missing both hind legs, so who can say for certain…). Many hemipterans, even plant-feeders, will scavenge dead insects on occasion.
Eric

Aggregation of Immature Florida Predatory Stink Bugs
Aggregation of Immature Florida Predatory Stink Bugs

Letter 4 – Immature Florida Predatory Stink Bugs

 

Beetles (?) on grapevine
October 2, 2009
I noticed these colorful guys piled up on the leaf of our wild grape vine this morning (Oct. 2), and would be interested to know what they are and what they might be doing (there’s not a lot of obvious activity). As you can see, they are cherry red on the back with twin black markings. The head and segment closest to the head are glossy black, with black antennae. They are roughly half an inch end-to-end. I don’t recall seeing insects with these markings in the area (Accomack County, Eastern Shore of Virginia) before, and certainly not in a cluster like this. Thanks for your help.
Linda Cuttone
Accomack County, VA (Eastern Shore)

Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymphs
Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymphs

Hi Linda,
Despite you writing from Virginia, your bugs are Florida Predatory Stink Bugs, Euthrhynchus floridanus.  BugGuide indicates:  “Predatory on other insects, including caterpillars, beetle. Nymphs, and to some extent, adults, are gregarious, and may attack large prey in groups.
”  The orange and black adults are sometimes called Halloween Bugs since they appear near the end of October.

Letter 5 – Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymphs

 

What are they?
Location: Central North Carolina
May 7, 2012 4:37 pm
I saw these on my porch today. It is May 7th in Central North Carolina.
Signature: Curious

Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymphs

Dear Curious,
These are immature Florida Predatory Stink Bugs and they are considered beneficial.

Letter 6 – Florida Predatory Stink Bug

 

beautiful iridescent green stink bug with two orange spots on thorax-maybe Florida Predatory Stink bug?
July 15, 2009
Hey bugman,
I found this stink bug outside our back door on Friday, July 10, 2009 and thought it was so beautiful. I think it might be a Florida predatory Stink bug as I have seen some pictures of them that look kind of like this. I found one last summer, however, that looked a lot different than this one. Is this one a Florida Predatory Stink Bug? Thanks for any help you can give me. And again, thanks for such a wonderful website. I come back here several times a day to look at all the wonderful pictures.
Thanks Again,
Michael Davis
Seymour (just south of Knoxville), Tennessee

Florida Predatory Stink Bug
Florida Predatory Stink Bug

Hi Michael,
You are absolutely correct.  This is a Florida Predatory Stink Bug, Euthyrhynchus floridanus.  We also frequently get identification request for the brightly colored hatchlings.  Because of its coloration, the Florida Predatory Stink Bug is sometimes called a Halloween Bug.

Letter 7 – Florida Predatory Stink Bug

 

Florida Predatory Stinkbug ?
Tue, Oct 7, 2008 at 5:44 PM
Hi to all who have helped me,
I was so blown away by this stink bug.  I read somewhere that it had a 4 section  beak?.  Looks like a sectional proboscis of sorts.  I could not believe the orange “beak”  I had to work to get this photo and that is always fun.  It was well worth the “coaxing” to get these shots.  I just had to see what the article was about (no photos).
How does this “beak” get  back into his  “mouthpart” for lack of a better description or does it store underneath?   I could not see how he did that I think this is so cool.  Maybe you know a stinkbug Dr. you could pass this along to.
Thanks,
Janis Osborne
Duluth, GA
Oct. 2008

Florida Predatory Stink Bug
Florida Predatory Stink Bug

Hi Janis,
Thanks so much for sending your awesome photo of a Florida Predatory Stink Bug, Euthyrhynchus floridanus.  It is a welcomed addition to our archive.

Letter 8 – Florida Predatory Stink Bug nymph in Tennessee

 

Subject: Red beetle (?)
Location: Nashville, TN
September 15, 2014 1:13 pm
Saw this guy in Nashville recently. Never have seen anything like this in thus region, its body shape is similar to what we call ‘stink bugs’.
Any thoughts?
Signature: Cpuryear

Florida Predatory Stink Bug
Florida Predatory Stink Bug nymph

Dear Cpuryear,
The reason this striking nymph reminds you of a Stink Bug is that it is a Stink Bug in the family Pentatomidae,
Euthyrhynchus floridanus, AKA Florida Predatory Stink Bug.  The specificity of the names, both common and scientific, belies the fact that the Florida Predatory Stink Bug naturally ranges far beyond the border of our southernmost state, according to BugGuide.  The Florida Predatory Stink Bug, which is called a Halloween Bug in its seasonal adult attire replete with wings, is an effective predator.

Letter 9 – Halloween Bug or Florida Predatory Stink Bug

 

Black/orange “jack o’lantern” beetle
October 26, 2009
We spotted this beetle on our trash toter lid on October 23. He was apparently out for a stroll – did not fly while we watched. His markings are striking – a built-in Halloween costume!
Patrice and Allen Sigmon
High Point, NC

Halloween Bug
Halloween Bug

Dear Patrice and Allen,
Though you did not realize it, you actually correctly identified your insect.  The Florida Predatory Stink Bug, Euthyrhunchus floridanus, is frequently called the Halloween Bug because of its coloration and markings as well as its timely appearance.  It is also the time of the month for us to select a Bug of the Month for November 2009, and we plan to use your letter and photo as a point of departure, and include an image of the startlingly different immature insects as well.

Letter 10 – BUG OF THE MONTH APRIL 2012: Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymphs

 

Is this a ladybug?
Location: San Antonio, TX
April 4, 2012 12:28 pm
This bug is everywhere on the ground of my backyard right now (early April). It also has the three stripes on the orange/red portion of its underside. Your help in the identification process is appreciated since my son and I spend a lot of time in the yard. I worry that this may be a bothersome bug. Thanks!
Signature: Katie

Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymphs

Hi Katie,
Your letter is the second letter from San Antonio we have received this week inquiring about these newly hatched Florida Predatory Stink Bug nymphs,
Euthyrhynchus floridanus.  The orange and black adults are often visible late in the fall and they are called Halloween Bugs.  They are predatory and they are considered beneficial in the natural control of insect populations.  According to BugGuide they feed on:  “other insects. Nymphs, and to some extent, adults, are gregarious, and may attack large prey in groups.”  We have never received a report of a person being bitten by a Florida Predatory Stink Bug, but we acknowledge that the possibility exists if they are carelessly handled.

Letter 11 – Florida Predatory Stink Bug

 

help with bug
I thought it might be a boxelder bug but the markings are different. Can you help me? I live in south MS. Thanks
Andrew

Hi Andrew,
This is a Florida Predatory Stink Bug, Euthyrhynchus floridanus.

Letter 12 – Florida Predatory Stink Bug

 

Subject: orange and black
Location: Mandeville, Louisiana
May 20, 2015 3:21 pm
My daughter and I brought a bug home from Mandeville, LA to live in our terrarium. It has molted and grown larger.
Signature: Laura

Florida Predatory Stink Bug
Florida Predatory Stink Bug

Dear Laura,
This is an adult Florida Predatory Stink Bug,
Euthyrhunchus floridanus, a beneficial species that is sometimes called a Halloween Bug because of the colors and markings.  We just posted an image of immature Florida Predatory Stink Bug nymphs.

Oh wow that’s so cool! I really appreciate the swift reply. Now I can research how to take care of our little Halloween friend. I hope I can find some more. I wouldn’t mind a little colony in my terrarium. Thank you so much!!

Letter 13 – Florida Predatory Stink Bug Aggregation

 

Mating Pile of Beetles?
Just found these guys shamelessly flaunting their group activities on our holly hedges. And in a family neighborhood, too. I don’t know what they are, but they are certainly colorful!
Amy
Virginia

Florida Predatory Stink Bug Aggregation
Florida Predatory Stink Bug Aggregation

Hi Amy,
This is a aggregation of Florida Predatory Stink Bugs, Euthyrhynchus floridanus.  Since there are both mature and immature individuals in you photo, we are relatively certain this has nothing to do with mating activity since insects have no interest in mating unless sexual reproduction is achieved.  It is more likely this aggregation is based on either feeding or protection.

Letter 14 – Florida Predatory Stink Bug from Costa Rica

 

Subject: Orange and Teal Green Bug – Costa Rica
Location: Puntaranas, Costa Rica
January 9, 2016 10:17 pm
Found this little guy crawl on our friends patio. Very colorful and reminds me of a stink bugs that we use to have in the US. Any idea what it is?
Signature: Jackie

Florida Predatory Stink Bug
Florida Predatory Stink Bug

Dear Jackie,
Though most North American individuals have three distinct spots on the wings, we are relatively certain that your insect is a Florida Predatory Stink Bug,
 Euthyrhunchus floridanus.  This individual pictured on BugGuide has markings very similar to your individual.

Florida Predatory Stink Bug
Florida Predatory Stink Bug

Hi Daniel!  Thanks so much for the identification!  I though it looked like some type of stink bug because of the shield shape to the body.  But this one is so much more beautiful than the plain brown ones we use to get in Indiana.  Thank you again and have a great day!

Hi Jackie,
We never thanked you for providing both a dorsal and a ventral view.

Letter 15 – Florida Predatory Stink Bug Hatchlings

 

what bug is this?
I found these "hatching" as it appeared out of our rotting fence post. They appear to be baby beetles of some sort, but I’m not sure just what kind. Can you identify these? Thanks!
Caroline
Gastonia, NC

Hi Caroline
These are Florida Predatory Stink Bugs, Euthyrhynchus floridanus, newly hatched. According to BugGuide, they are “Predatory on other insects, including caterpillars, beetle. Nymphs, and to some extent, adults, are gregarious, and may attack large prey in groups.” This species is also known as the Halloween Bug.

Letter 16 – Florida Predatory Stink Bug hatchlings

 

Iridescent beetles with red back pattern
Location: Atlanta, GA
April 19, 2012 9:39 pm
Do you know what these beetles are? There’s a small army of them on the front of my house.
Signature: Kyle

Florida Predatory Stink Bug hatchlings

Dear Kyle,
True Bugs are often confused for beetles, but True Bugs have piercing and sucking mouthparts for feeding on fluids while beetles have chewing mouthparts for feeding on solids.  These are very young Florida Predatory Stink Bugs or Euthyrhynchus floridanus in an unwinged nymph stage.  Adults often appear in the fall and because of their coloration and markings, which are like a mask, they are called Halloween Bugs.  You can see BugGuide for more information.

Letter 17 – Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymph

 

Swarm of Beetles.. maybe????
Location: San Antonio Texas
April 3, 2012 2:22 pm
I opened my door Sunday morning to find 100’s of these beetle like bugs crawling out of my grass onto my sidewalk and patio. They seemed to all be heading toward the shade. I was leaving to go buy bug spray when as I backed my car out of my driveway, I found that where the car had provided shade, was covered with these bugs. They were.. at the largest size, half the size of your pinky finger nail. I noticed the black and red spot so at first I thought a lady bug, but these seem to have antennas. I removed some grassy area from my yard and found them all over the dirt area and found an spot that they were climbing out of the dirt. I dont mean one or two, just hundreds of them. What are these and are they harmful to my yard? Will they fly away or do I need to exterminate the ones I havent gotten rid of?
Signature: Sirena

Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymphs

Ed. Note:  With most of the identification requests we receive, we are only able to supply a brief response to the querent without posting the letter.  Such was the case with this submission, though in retrospect, we decided to create a post.

recently hatched beneficial predatory stink bugs

bugs are amazing.. never knew they hatched underground.  Hopefully they will just go away and not eat what grass I have left after our Texas drought…
Thanks

Hi again Sirena,
The Florida Predatory Stink Bug feeds on other insects and it will not damage your lawn.  Since they are nymphs, they don’t yet have wings, but winged adults are capable of flight.  Because of their black and orange coloration, their markings which resemble a mask and their presence in the fall, adult Florida Predatory Stink Bugs are often called Halloween Bugs.

Letter 18 – Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymph

 

Subject: Trying to identify this bug
Location: Tunstall, Va (New Kent county)
September 18, 2013 9:15 am
Found a clump of these guys on my interior workshop door. Trying to figure out what they are. Thought it was a ladybug at first. Thanks.
Signature: Neal Furgurson

Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymph
Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymph

Hi Neal,
This is an immature Florida Predatory Stink Bug,
Euthyrhynchus floridanus, and you can read more about them on BugGuide.  Adults which mature in the autumn are commonly called Halloween Bugs because of the color and the facelike markings on the wings.

Thanks!! I did some more searching yesterday and came to the same conclusion! I posted it on my Facebook page and a friend replied about the Halloween bug. Very appreciative of your help. Thanks again.

Letter 19 – Florida Predatory Stink Bug nymph

 

Subject:  unknown bugs on grapevines
Geographic location of the bug:  Cheraw, South Carolina
Date: 09/02/2017
Time: 07:56 AM EDT
I found some of these bugs on my muscadine grapevines when I was picking grapes. The bugs are shy, as I was attempting to snap their picture, they kept quickly crawling on the underside of the leaves.
How you want your letter signed:  Kathy

Florida Predatory Stink Bug nymph

Dear Kathy,
This is a beneficial Florida Predatory Stink Bug nymph, and it should help keep your muscadine grapevines free of unwanted insects.

Thank you so much!  Great news!

Letter 20 – Florida Predatory Stink Bug: Nymph and Adult

 

Possible Redbugs
Let me start with my apologies for sending big, clumsy pics rather than cropping and optimizing them, and, if it’s inconvenient, for sending these smaller files to replace them. I must also apologize for failing to include any information regarding the bugs aside from their location. Truth is, they didn’t do anything remarkable aside from be very pretty and hang about. I rarely if ever saw them on plants, but almost always on structures (the house, the shed, even the bird perches, but never plants that I can recall). I never saw them eat. I was never bitten by one. I tried for years to have them identified. They were there every summer, first in congregations and later alone or in much smaller and less cohesive groups. They were beautiful and I enjoyed their company greatly, but the only thing I ever learned about them was that they were ‘some kind of assassin bug’. :-> That may be all I ever learn, I suppose, but that doesn’t diminish at all what they added to our landscape. Anyway, thanks again for a truly excellent resource (and a great idea all the way around; I admit to a certain sense of curiosity what you learn in your occupational field of expertise from the photos submitted by us non-photographers). I hope these photos (poor as two of them are) are of some use. Peace,
Peace

Greetings Peace,
We want to begin our reply by telling you how much your letter has warmed our hearts. First, your name “Peace” is a joy. The polite tone of your query is quite refreshing. As you might have read on our homepage, we are having difficulties receiving images. All large images are being transmitted, but we cannot open them. This is a problem we are eagerly waiting for our web master to correct, but personal obligations have limited the time he can devote to charity work on our site. We are being forced to delete most correspondance as it is too much for us to email each and every person back and redirect them to send us images in another format. Additionally, we have never been able to answer everything. Now, getting to your question. These photos show a juvenile and adult Florida Predatory Stink Bug, Euthyrhynchus floridanus. Clear images of the adult can be located on BugGuide. The Florida Predatory Stink Bug is doing something remarkable for your yard. They are helping to control problematic insects in your garden without the need to use pesticides. Lastly we want to critique your images that you have labeled as “poor”. Poor is subjective. Your blurry image shows the distinctive coloration and markings of the adult specimen and that allowed us to make the identification. As artists who teach photography, we tell our students that a less than optimum image of a rare or important event or thing is preferable to no photograph at all. It is also our observation that the introduction of digital photography has made many amateurs into quite competant visual chronicalers, though we fear for the longevity of the archives due to the lack of negatives. Thanks again for your appreciation of the aesthetics of the natural world.
Peace,
Daniel and Lisa Anne

Letter 21 – Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymph eats Moth

 

Subject: Makers Mark Beetle?
Location: Virginia Beach, VA
September 13, 2014 6:41 am
Hello!
I noticed this fella (or lady) pulling a moth up the wall of our front porch. At first glance I thought it might actually be a spider, but on closer inspection, it’s obviously some type of weevil or beetle. Up close, it genuinely appears to have been dipped in hot red wax, like the top of a well known bourbon whiskey. It’s obviously a hunter, given the activity in the photos. I would say this fella is approx 10-13mm long. Just curious, and thanks so much for this amazing site!
Signature: M Coughlin

Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymph eats Moth
Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymph eats Moth

Dear M Coughlin,
Your Maker’s Mark bourbon analogy is amusing and quite timely considering the link we located.  This is actually an immature Florida Predatory Stink Bug and they are very effective predators.  

Letter 22 – Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymphs

 

Brightly Colored Beetle?
Mon, Jun 8, 2009 at 5:43 PM
This past weekend was warm and sunny, so I decided to hang a comforter out to dry on our back porch railing. Musch to my suprise, later that day I discovered 20 or so bright colored bugs congregating on my comforter! They were crawling around in a small area and would stay very close to one another regardless of my probing and prodding. Later in the day, they dissappered and I’ve not seen them since! What were my mysterious visitors??
Curious, Glen Allen, VA
Glen Allen, VA

Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymphs
Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymphs

Dear Curious,
We have just returned from a week in Ohio visiting family, and we have volumes of email to address. We plan to just skip around and select subject lines that catch our attention. Since we also have a neglected garden and some Euonymus, Golden Chain Tree and Iris from Mom’s garden to plant , we decided to only post one email to let our readership know that we are back. Your subject line caught our attention. Your photo of Florida Predatory Stink Bug nymphs, Euthyrhynchus floridanus, will be our only posting until much later. We love your photograph with the strong directional lighting. When Florida Predatory Stink Bugs first hatch, they stick together, but they will eventually become solitary hunters that are quite beneficial in the garden since they feed on caterpillars and beetles. This species is also sometimes known as the Halloween Bug, according to BugGuide, because of the adult black and orange coloration. We can’t help but wonder what the other side of your comforter looks like and if it is a family heirloom.

Wed, Jun 17, 2009 at 8:00 AM
Thanks so much for your response!  I’m glad to hear that these bugs are beneficial, and was facinated learn of their social qualities.  I’ll keep an eye out for these when they ultimately mature to their black and orange adult forms!
That comforter was actually a gift from my Mom some years ago and it has held up for 15 years or so.  Definately not an heirloom, but maybe it will be someday!

Letter 23 – Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymphs

 

Tick like insect, green body, with red rear/underbelly, possibly holding blood.
May 23, 2010
I live in Florence, SC and it in the summer time. It was around 84 degrees F when I found them, Overcast Skies, barely any sun coming through the clouds. It rained the day before. I found the insect on my glass door and they were all huddled together. They were also scattered around the perimeter of the door frame. Raid worked, sadly i had to kill them because I didn’t know what they were and there are kids around my house and I didn’t want them hurt.
Jonathan Smith
Florence, SC

Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymphs

Dear Jonathan,
These are nymphs of the Florida Predatory Stink Bug, Euthyrhynchus floridanus, which BugGuide reports to range as far north as Virginia, and as far west as Texas.  The Florida Predatory Stink Bug, also called a Halloween Bug because of the coloration and timing of the adults in the fall, is an important predatory species, and BugGuide reports it to be:  “Predatory on other insects, including caterpillars, beetle. Nymphs, and to some extent, adults, are gregarious, and may attack large prey in groups.

Thanks for the quick answer.  Now that I know what they are and have researched it, I can tell for future reference that they are in fact beneficial.

Letter 24 – Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymphs

 

unknown beetle in garden
Location: Conroe, Texas, USA
April 9, 2011 5:57 pm
my mom found these ladybug-like beetles in the garden, but they act nothing like them. they seam to like sticks and stay in a large group. we need to know if thy are harmful or helpful to our garden.
Signature: KatThat

Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymphs

Dear KatThat,
These are immature Florida Predatory Stink Bugs, and despite the name, their range is not limited to Florida.  They stay together when young, and as they mature, they begin to hunt individually.  They are considered to be a beneficial species because they prey upon plant feeding insects in the garden.

Letter 25 – Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymphs

 

Subject: vey pretty bug
Location: mississippi
May 19, 2015 2:45 pm
Will you please tell me what kind of big this is? I have never seen any before.
Signature: amy

Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymphs
Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymphs

Dear Amy,
These are the beneficial nymphs of the Florida Predatory Stink Bug.
  Adults generally mature in the autumn and they are sometimes called Halloween Bugs.

Letter 26 – Florida Predatory Stink Bug nymphs

 

Subject: Bug
Location: Southeast Georgia
March 30, 2016 1:26 am
Noticed these bugs on a pine tree limb.
Signature: Chad smith

Florida Predatory Stink Bug nymphs
Florida Predatory Stink Bug nymphs

Dear Chad,
This appear to be a group of Florida Predatory Stink Bug nymphs, and some individuals appear to be molting, which is why some are redder than others like in this BugGuide image.  They will darken when the new  exoskeleton begins to harden.

Letter 27 – Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymphs

 

Subject: I cant find it anywhere
Location: Clayton NC
May 23, 2016 8:39 am
Please identify this bug I can’t find it anywhere on the internet
Signature: I found it

Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymphs
Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymphs

Your beneficial Florida Predatory Stink Bug nymphs have a range well beyond Florida, and North Carolina is within their recognized range on BugGuide.

Letter 28 – Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymphs

 

Subject: Black and red bug MD
Location: MD, near Arnold
August 6, 2017 5:33 pm
Photo of black bug w/red “rear lights”. On a textured wall MD 2014 June. Paerhaps 30 crawling the wall None seen flying, but none observed climbing the wall. Mid-morning. Not shield-shaped, nor round/oval like ladybugs. Nothing white. See picture of the ~0.5 cm bugs. Any help much appreciated. None were touched…no smell apparent. Not at all aggressive but neither were they fearful.
Signature: William Hoffman

Florida Predatory Stink Bug nymphs

Dear William,
Despite their common name, these Florida Predatory Stink Bug nymphs have a range that greatly exceeds the Sunshine State.  They are beneficial predators in the garden.  When young they tend to hunt in a pack.

Thanks, Daniel.
For some insects I thought nymphs had different body shape than adults. How do these nymphs progress to adult?
Interestingly, I had found ref to podisus placidus on insectidentification.org but rejected it b/c it had white trim while my bugs did not. Apparently, the exact pattern of colors is not as important as body shape. Thanks again.
Bill Hoffman
Hi again Bill,
These nymphs will continue to grow, passing through five different instars before they molt into winged adult Florida Predatory Stink Bugs, sometimes called Halloween Bugs.

Letter 29 – Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymphs eat Cricket

 

Need info on this beetle.
Location: Statesville, NC
November 2, 2010 6:40 am
My son is a Cub Scout and we have to do some research on an animal, plant or insect that lives off of another source of food. He wanted to do this one seeing as though we found these on the outside of our home. What are these? I can’t seem to locate them anywhere…I personally love the skull on their backs, although I am not sure if that is truly what the design is. Any help would be great!
Signature: Thank you, Nikki

Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymphs eat Cricket

Hi Nikki,
These are not beetles.  They are immature Florida Predatory Stink Bugs and they are eating a Cricket.  As they mature, these Stink Bugs will stop hunting in a pack.

Letter 30 – Florida Predatory Stink Bug Nymphs on the march

 

Beetles?
I found this group of bugs traveling in a group across my front doorstep, have you ever seen these before? Acworth, GA just North of Atlanta

We are relatively certain these are Florida Predatory Stink Bug nymphs, Euthyrhynchus floridanus. The social marching behavior is interesting. We do not know at what stage the nymphs become solitary hunters, and we have not been successful at finding that information. This Stink Bug is also called a Halloween Bug.

Letter 31 – Florida Predatory Stinkbug

 

What is this bug?
What kind of bug is this?
(Found in eastern, TN.)

Despite its common name, the Florida Predatory Stinkbug, Euthyrhynchus floridanus, also known as the Halloween Bug, ranges further north than the Sunshine State. According to BugGuide: “Predatory on other insects, including caterpillars, beetle. Nymphs, and to some extent, adults, are gregarious, and may attack large prey in groups.”

Letter 32 – Immature Florida Predatory Stink Bugs

 

Is this a ladybug?
May 28, 2009
We found about 30 of these bugs collected around an ant victim on our deck. They remind of us ladybugs, but I do not think they are. They have a narrow head/neck from their body.
Do you know what bug this is?
Stephanie, Riley & Danielle
Marietta, GA

Immature Florida Predatory Stink Bugs
Immature Florida Predatory Stink Bugs

Hi Stephanie, Riley and Danielle,
We are attempting to respond to a few unanswered letters in our mailbox, and we wanted you to know that these are immature Florida Predatory Stink Bugs, Euthyrhynchus floridanus.  You can research more about them on Bugguide.

Letter 33 – Halloween Bug

 

Subject: Never seen this before
Location: Toano, VA
October 15, 2013 7:12 pm
Hello! I took this picture on October 15th near Williamsburg, VA. It has been very rainy here and temperatures in the mid 70s. I have never seen anything like it before and it is not in my most reliable bug book, so I am coming to you for help. Thank you!
Signature: Andrea Drummond

Halloween Bug
Halloween Bug

Hi Andrea,
Your Florida Predatory Stink Bug, which is also called a Halloween Bug, is right on time for a seasonal appearance.

Letter 34 – Halloween Bug: Unopened Mail Discovered in January

 

Subject: Happy Halloween Bugman!
Location: northern Virginia
October 31, 2013 7:29 pm
I found this lovely Halloween bug (I had previously found one and had looked it up… so I knew it is also called a ”Florida Predatory Stink Bug” in my garbage can just before dark tonight – Halloween, of course! There were two… only one had the nice scary Jack O’Lantern ”face” on the back. The other had a slightly different pattern. We’re in northern Virginia, October 31st, it’s been a mild day, and I have now found three of these in my yard within the past month. Hope you enjoy this seasonal beauty!
Signature: Emily H.

Halloween Bug
Halloween Bug

Hi Emily,
We are so sad that we missed your cheerful greeting when you originally sent it.  We were away from the office visiting family and we were unable to get to all the requests that piled up in our absence.  Things are slow now in January with most of the country frozen under “polar vortex” conditions, and we are trying to find pretty photos to post live next week while we are away again.  Though your seasonal greeting arrived belatedly, it is greatly appreciated.  We did make the Halloween Bug the Bug of the Month in November 2009.

Authors

    by
  • 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.

25 thoughts on “Predatory Stink Bug: All You Need to Know in a Nutshell”

  1. I went back to the folder with the photos of the stinkbug and found another
    view of the “beak” and it does seem to fit under the bug. The photos I
    took were not focused on that part and not enough depth of field to be very
    sharp. He did not like being upside down so only a couple of shots were
    possible. He is gone now so next year maybe. He does like some nectar
    also. Janis

    Reply
  2. May any of your archive photos be downloaded and used as part of art work? For example, can one (or a part of one) of your photos be put a T-shirt that might be sold?

    If they can NOT be used for commercial purposes THEN may I put Janis’s Florida Stinkbug photo on a virtual 3-D t-shirt to be worn by a virtual 3-D female model? Then, I want to use the render of this model in a stinkbug t-shirt SIMPLY as an avatar to represent me on message boards/forums. It will NOT be used commercially.

    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Dear stinkbugb,
      The actual photos submitted to What’s That Bug? are copyrighted by the photographers, though our submission form indicates that we may use the images on What’s That Bug? as well as for What’s That Bug? endorsed purposes. We allow images to be used for educational purposes, and for non-profit usage. Though your request is not typical for us, as long as you are not selling the image, we do not have a problem with the use you indicate, but if you are contacted by the actual photographer, and they object to the use, we would request that you dispense with the use.

      Reply
  3. Thank you very much!

    I will give Janis a few days to respond to this post before I make and begin using the avatar containing her fantastic photo. Actually, only the “cut-out” bug, not the whole photo, is to be used.

    Is there any way the finished avatar can be put on this page or message board so that Janis can see how her photo is to be used?

    It’s funny that “stink bug” is supposed to be two words but my word processor allows it to go through as one word. I hope BOTH ways are acceptable because I have been writing it as ONE word!

    Reply
    • We are copying our web master, also named Daniel, to see if he can advise you on posting the image as a comment.
      Stink Bug is two words in the entomology world, though in popular culture, the compound word has gained acceptance.

      Reply
    • I know it’s geeb 8+ years but I have one of these stink bugs that has been in my flowers for months. I just now looked it up to see what kind it is. If you weren’t able to use Janis’s photo I’ll be happy to take a few for you if you’d still like. On another note I can’t believe what a small world we live in, I am Janis’s neighbor…I also live in Duluth, GA.

      Reply
  4. Thank you again for such prompt attention to my inquiry! I’m sure these little guys will have plenty to eat in my garden as they grow. I hope all of you at “What’s That Bug” have a great day!!

    Reply
  5. I found a group of about 10-12 nymphs of the Florida Predatory Stink Bug on a tree in my daughter’s backyard in Shallotte, NC. One scurried around by itself. The group sourrounded a green inchworm, which was dead and blackened. How common are these insects? Should I worry about their presence? It looks like everything I’ve read indicates they’re beneficial. but I’m not sure.

    I can send pics.

    Reply
  6. I found a group of about 10-12 nymphs of the Florida Predatory Stink Bug on a tree in my daughter’s backyard in Shallotte, NC. One scurried around by itself. The group sourrounded a green inchworm, which was dead and blackened. How common are these insects? Should I worry about their presence? It looks like everything I’ve read indicates they’re beneficial. but I’m not sure.

    I can send pics.

    Reply
  7. Any chance I’d be seeing these Floridians in Portland, Oregon? Was taking a walk this morning when I noticed perhaps a dozen of these (or their dopplegängers) on the street — quite a distance away from any tree, rotting post, vegetation or shelter — just milling about on the blacktop, seemingly without direction. What do you think?
    And thank you for this great website!
    Kathleen

    Reply
  8. Any chance I’d be seeing these Floridians in Portland, Oregon? Was taking a walk this morning when I noticed perhaps a dozen of these (or their dopplegängers) on the street — quite a distance away from any tree, rotting post, vegetation or shelter — just milling about on the blacktop, seemingly without direction. What do you think?
    And thank you for this great website!
    Kathleen

    Reply
  9. So how do I kill these? Any tips to kill or repel them? I spray Ortho Home Defense around my house about once a month and it does nothing to these bugs. I have hundreds of them on one side of my house and am about to sell and really don’t want them there. A few I don’t mind but hundreds is unsightly.

    Reply
  10. I found one just outside my house. I know they won’t bother me, but yet I don’t how they are beneficial to me or the grass and flowers?

    Reply
  11. I just found two in my home in Spring Hill, TN. I’d never seen these before and thought this was a tick. 😉 (June 15, 2021)

    Reply

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