Rough Stink Bug: All You Need to Know About This Pesky Critter

The Rough Stink Bug, often found in agricultural areas, is an intriguing species of insect that can be easily identified by certain physical features. These bugs are known for their distinctive appearance, which includes two white bands on their hind legs, a lack of bands on their antennae, and points on their face. Moreover, they have a rough or toothed edge on the front margin of their thorax, which is the source of the common name for this genus [1].

In comparison to the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, there are notable differences in appearance. The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is shield-shaped, has brown mottling, and measures between 14-17mm long. In addition, its abdominal edges and last two antennal segments have alternating broad light and dark bands [2]. Understanding the distinctions between these two species can be crucial for farmers and gardeners alike, as both bugs can have varying impacts on crops.

Habitat and Distribution

Native Regions

Rough stink bugs are native to certain regions in Asia, including countries like Japan, China, and Korea. They are typically found in agricultural environments, feeding on various crops and plants. In their native habitats, they often reside in:

  • Orchards
  • Fields
  • Gardens

Invasion in the U.S.

The Rough Stink Bug has successfully invaded the U.S., with its presence seen primarily in states like California. It is believed to have first arrived in the country around the late 1990s, potentially via cargo shipments from Asia. The spread of these bugs has also been documented in nearby regions such as Mexico.

In the U.S., its preferred habitats include:

  • Farm fields
  • Residential gardens
  • Woodlands

In a comparison between the native and invaded regions of Rough Stink Bug:

Native Regions Invasion in the U.S.
Primary areas Asia California
Typical habitats Orchards, fields Farms, gardens
Spread Late 1990s to present

Controlling Rough Stink Bug populations is crucial for managing crop damage and protecting agriculture in its invaded regions. It is important to be aware of their presence and take necessary measures to prevent further expansion of their distribution.

Life Cycle and Behavior

Egg Stage

Rough stink bugs begin their life cycle as small, Manila-colored eggs which are deposited in loosely-bound clusters. Adult females typically lay these eggs during spring, around March.

Nymph Stage

  • Five instars stages
  • Transition from dark brown to green-brown

The nymph stage consists of five instars stages during which the stink bugs gradually change in appearance. Early instars start with a dark brown head and pronotum, while their abdomen is light brown with slightly darker spots. As they go through these stages, their body color begins to change towards green-brown to yellow-brown.

Adult Stage

Once the nymphs transition through all five instars, they become adult stink bugs. They grow to about 1/2 inch long and their color varies from grayish brown to green. Their legs have a distinguishable grayish color with black speckles.

Comparison Table

Life Stage Size Color
Egg Small (<1mm) Manila
Nymph Varies by instar Dark brown to yellow-brown
Adult About 1/2 inch long Grayish brown to green

Overall, the rough stink bug goes through a fascinating life cycle consisting of distinct egg, nymph, and adult stages. Their behavior and appearance change throughout these stages, making it an interesting insect to study.

Feeding Habits and Damage to Plants

Preferred Food Sources

Stink bugs, including the Rough Stink Bug, are generalist herbivores that feed on various plants. Some examples of their preferred food sources are:

  • Trees like citrus and apple
  • Crops such as soybeans, beans, corn, and oat
  • Fruits like peaches and tomatoes
  • Plants typically found in gardens and yards

Impact on Agricultural Industry

Stink bugs pose a threat to the agricultural industry by damaging crops. Their feeding habits can lead to:

  • Deformities in fruits
  • Yield losses in beans and corn
  • Reduced quality of apples, peaches, and tomatoes
  • Stunted growth in various plants

For example, green stink bugs are major pests for cotton, rice, and soybean, causing significant economic losses.

Controlling Stink Bugs in Gardens

There are various methods for controlling stink bugs in gardens and yards, including:

  • Soapy water: Placing soapy water in shallow containers can attract and drown stink bugs.
  • Insecticides: Apply chemical insecticides to affected areas as per label instructions.
  • Physical barriers: Use screens or row covers to protect plants from stink bug damage.

Pros and cons of controlling methods:

Method Pros Cons
Soapy water Chemical-free, environmentally friendly, low-cost Less effective for large infestations
Insecticides Effective for large infestations May harm beneficial insects, the environment, and human health
Physical barriers Durable, non-toxic protection Costly and time-consuming to install, may limit sunlight and airflow

Remember always to follow label instructions and take necessary precautions to minimize risks associated with using insecticides. Also, consider the impact on beneficial insects and the surrounding environment before choosing a control method.

Natural Predators and Their Effectiveness

Birds

Birds are known to prey on stink bugs, with various species consuming these pesky insects. However, their effectiveness in controlling stink bug populations is limited.

Predatory Stink Bugs

Some stink bug species, like the Two-Spotted Stink Bug and Florida Predatory Stink Bug, are beneficial to gardeners. These predatory stink bugs feed on other harmful insects, including damaging bugs, beetles, and caterpillars.

Examples

  • Two-Spotted Stink Bug: A generalist predator with keyhole markings.
  • Florida Predatory Stink Bug: Predominantly feeds on plant-damaging insects.

Other Insects

Several other insects, such as ants and the Spined Soldier Bug, are also natural predators of stink bugs. However, their effectiveness varies widely.

Features

  • Ants: Consume stink bug eggs and nymphs, providing some level of control.
  • Spined Soldier Bug: Attacks various life stages of stink bugs, effectively controlling their population.

Comparison Table

Predator Prey on Stink Bugs Effectiveness
Birds Yes Limited
Predatory Stink Bugs Yes Moderate
Ants Yes Varies
Spined Soldier Bug Yes Effective

In summary, various natural predators, including birds, ants, and other insects, have varying levels of effectiveness in controlling stink bugs. Some predatory stink bugs are particularly beneficial in gardens due to their appetite for harmful insects.

Home Infestation and Prevention

Entry Points and Detection

Rough stink bugs can enter homes through various small gaps and openings. Examples of entry points include:

  • Cracks in walls
  • Vents
  • Windowsills
  • Attic

Detecting stink bug infestations is often possible due to their distinct odor when disturbed or crushed.

Winter Infestations

During winter, rough stink bugs seek shelter in homes for warmth and survival. They tend to congregate in high areas such as ceilings, walls, and windows.

Prevention Measures

To prevent stink bug infestations, take the following steps:

  • Seal gaps with caulk or other suitable material
  • Repair torn window and door screens
  • Keep wood, plants, and debris away from home

Comparison of prevention techniques:

Technique Pros Cons
Sealing gaps Effective, long-lasting results Can be time-consuming
Repairing screens Low-cost, improves ventilation Requires regular maintenance
Removing debris Reduces insect hiding spots Yardwork may be necessary

Dealing With Rough Stink Bugs in the House

Safe and Effective Removal

Rough stink bugs can be a nuisance pest in your home, and it’s important to handle them safely and effectively. They don’t sting or bite but give off an unpleasant odor when squished.

  • Vacuum cleaner: Gently use a vacuum cleaner to suck up the stink bugs. Make sure to empty the bag afterward, as the odor may remain.
  • Professional help: If you have a severe infestation, consider contacting a pest control expert or exterminator, who can use appropriate pesticides and methods for removal.

Remember, some individuals may have an allergic reaction to stink bugs or their odor.

DIY Traps and Solutions

You can also create simple DIY traps and solutions for dealing with stink bugs in your house.

  • Bottle trap:
    • Cut off the top of a plastic bottle and invert it.
    • Fill the bottom with dish soap and water.
    • Place the trap near stink bug-infested areas.
Pros Cons
Inexpensive Not as effective as professional traps
Easy to make Odor might remain
  • Dish soap spray: Mix water and a few drops of dish soap in a spray bottle. Spray onto stink bugs directly.
Pros Cons
Eco-friendly Requires frequent application

Various Types of Stink Bugs

Green Stink Bug

  • The Green Stink Bug is a common species with a bright green coloration.
  • Its body is shaped like a shield and can be found on various plants.

The Green Stink Bug (Chinavia hilaris) is a widely distributed stink bug species found in North America. They are easily identified by their distinctive bright green color and shield-shaped body. Typically, these bugs are found on a variety of plant species, where they can cause significant damage to crops.

Brown Stink Bug

  • The Brown Stink Bug has shades of brown covering its body.
  • It can be identified by the lighter and darker bands on its antennae.

The Brown Stink Bug (Euschistus servus) is another common stink bug with shades of brown covering its upper and lower body surfaces1. Distinguishing features of this species include lighter bands on the antennae and darker bands on the legs and abdomen.

Red-Shouldered Stink Bug

  • Red-Shouldered Stink Bug has black spots on a predominantly yellow or orange body.
  • The shoulders of this bug are marked with red or pink lines.

The Red-Shouldered Stink Bug (Thyanta custator) is named for the red or pink lines on the shoulders of its predominantly yellow or orange body. This species also features black spots on its abdomen and can be found in various agricultural environments.

Comparison Table:

Feature Green Stink Bug Brown Stink Bug Red-Shouldered Stink Bug
Body Color Bright Green Shades of Brown Yellow or Orange
Antenna Bands N/A Lighter and Darker N/A
Abdomen Spots/Shoulder Colors N/A Darker Bands Black Spots, Red Lines

Conclusion

In summary, the Rough Stink Bug is an intriguing insect with distinct features:

  • Distinctive rough-textured appearance
  • Releases a foul odor when disturbed
  • Can damage crops and pose a nuisance to homeowners

These bugs are named after their rough texture and unpleasant smell emitted as a defense mechanism. They can often be found on various plants and crops, sometimes causing damage.

Comparison of Rough Stink Bug and Kissing Bug:

Feature Rough Stink Bug Kissing Bug
Appearance Rough texture Smooth
Odor Foul smell No smell
Habitat Plants, crops Houses
Associated Risk Crop damage Chagas disease

It’s important to differentiate these insects from kissing bugs, another type of bug that may cause health concerns. Kissing bugs are associated with Chagas disease, and their appearance is smoother and more streamlined.

Knowing the key features of Rough Stink Bugs can help you:

  • Identify and manage them in your garden
  • Minimize potential crop damage
  • Keep your home free from this unpleasant-smelling pest

It’s crucial to approach Rough Stink Bug control with caution, using eco-friendly methods and considering their natural predators as a solution. Remember, seeking professional assistance is advised when dealing with persistent infestations. Stay mindful of these details to maintain a bug-free environment.

Footnotes

  1. Brown Marmorated Stink Bug – Penn State Extension

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 – Brochymena

 

These Are In My House! Assassin Bug?
Hey
This is the 4th beetle like this I’ve found in my house in the past 2 weeks. I just find them in random places, though thy seem to be curiously close to windows (and one was on the floor in front of the fire place). I live in South Texas, is mildly cool right now, and these guys have never come in before now. I have a cat and a bird and I don’t want either getting stung by something that could hurt them. Could you puh-LEEZE tell me what these guys are? Thank a million!
Maury

Hi Maury,
This is a predatory stink bug known as a Brochymena. Stink Bugs often seek shelter indoors in fall and winter.

Letter 2 – Brochymena

 

can you tell me what this bug is?
I live in Oakland, California and I found this bug on my outside my window. I have never seen anything like it. Can you tell me what it is?
Thanks. ~ Jeni

Hi Jeni,
It is difficult to be certain as your photo is blurry. It is definitely a True Bug or Hemipteran. Judging by the silhouette and coloration, I’m guessing a Brochymena. These are brown to mottled grey with a pebbly surface, from 1/2 to 5/8 inch long. Their coloration makes them difficult to spot on the bark of trees. They prey on caterpillars and other soft injurious insects, hence they are beneficial in the garden and in orchards.

Letter 3 – Brochymena

 

What’s this bug?
If you have the time, I©ˆd love to know!
Justin Soffer

Hi Justin,
This is a type of Predatory Stink Bug known as a Brochymena.

Letter 4 – Brochymena

 

dying beetle
Hi
We found this odd little guy on one of our bedroom floors. We’re not sure where he came from, but he seemed to be in the throes of death, occasionally kicking a leg to prove he was still alive. Any ideas? I haven’t seen anything that resembles him on-line as yet. We live in the western part of the San Fernando Valley in Southern California.
Thanks
Mark L.Scott

Hi Mark,
This is a Predatory Stinkbug known as a Brochymena.

Letter 5 – Brochymena

 

Some type of shield bug?
We have some type of Shield Bug (we think), and were wondering if you could help us identify it, an maybe pass along any information on it. We live in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California (Between San Jose and Santa Cruz), it is a forrested area, Redwoods, Douglas Firs, and some oak. It is a true bug with 8 legs, and as I said we think it is a type of shield bug. My 5 year old daughter has twice captured this bug, and has named him (?) Harold. Any information you could pass along would be great, she loves bugs and we hope to encourage this passion.
Thanks,
Alissa and Rowan
PS. Are you familiar with the Video "A Day With Bugs"? If so could you suggest any other similar insect videos for children, we watch this one at least once a day. Thanks Again.

Hi Alissa and Rowan,
You are correct. This is a Shield Bug, Family Pentatomidae. This is actually a Brochymena, one of the predatory Stink Bugs. It is well camouflaged for blending in with tree bark. They are found in orchards, woods and isolated trees. They feed on caterpillars and other soft bodied insects.
We are not familiar with the video you mentioned, but personally we love Microcosmos.

Letter 6 – Brochymena

 

What is this bug?
Sun, Nov 23, 2008 at 11:18 AM
Hi, I have lived in CA 25 years anf have never seen this before, what is it?
Roger Turney
Dana Point CA

Brochymena
Brochymena

Hi Roger,
This is a Predatory Stink Bug known as a Brochymena.  You can find additional information on BugGuide, which states:  “Predatory on other insects, especially caterpillars. May feed some on juices of leaves as well” and that it is generally found in “Spring, fall (adults overwinter, so adults typically absent in mid-summer) .”  Since adults hibernate, they may enter homes in the fall.

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.

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