Stink bugs, also known as shield bugs due to their distinct shape, have become a common household nuisance. These small, brown insects often find their way into homes and gardens, causing damage to fruits and vegetables and even releasing a pungent odor when threatened.
You might be wondering how to identify these pesky creatures and how to manage a potential infestation. In this article, we will delve into the world of stink bugs, providing you with vital information on their biology, behavior, and effective control methods. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be better prepared to tackle any stink bug encounters in your home or garden.
What Are Stink Bugs?
Stink bugs are insects that get their name from the unpleasant odor they release when they feel threatened. They are part of the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) family, known scientifically as Halyomorpha halys. These insects can be found in various places, including gardens, fields, and even your home.
The stink bug has a distinctive shield-like shape, measuring approximately 17mm long. They are characterized by a brown color, six legs, and wings. Here are some key features of stink bugs:
- Shield-shaped body
- Brown color
- Six legs
When trying to identify a stink bug, you can look for the following physical characteristics:
- Brown, mottled appearance
- White bands on antennae
- Alternating light and dark bands on the edge of the abdomen
Stink bugs are often compared to other insects because they have similar features. To help you quickly differentiate stink bugs from other insects, here’s a comparison table:
|Feature||Stink Bug||Other Insects|
Now that you have a better understanding of stink bugs, you can identify and deal with them more effectively in your day-to-day life. Remember, their unpleasant odor is a defense mechanism, so try to avoid disturbing them if you encounter one.
Stink Bugs’ Life Cycle
Spring: In spring, adult stink bugs emerge from their overwintering spots and start to search for suitable hosts to lay their eggs. The brown marmorated stink bug, for example, lays clusters of 20-30 light green or yellow eggs on plant leaves or stems.
Summer: As temperatures rise, the eggs hatch into nymphs. These young stink bugs molt multiple times before becoming adults. Each time they molt, they grow and change in appearance.
Fall: During this season, stink bugs may become more noticeable as they gather on the sides of buildings to seek shelter from the colder weather. They also search for warm spots to overwinter. Don’t worry, it’s just a yearly occurrence during fall.
Winter: Adult stink bugs enter a state of diapause, which is a kind of hibernation, to survive the cold winter months. They usually hide in protected areas like under tree bark, inside buildings, or other sheltered locations.
Keep in mind that:
- Stink bugs are true bugs with piercing-sucking mouthparts that cause damage to plants.
- They are prevalent throughout the growing season, which makes them a significant pest for various crops.
Now you have a better understanding of the life cycle of stink bugs, from egg to adult in various seasons. With this knowledge, you can better identify and manage these insects in your environment.
The Stink Bug’s Diet
In your garden, these insects may prey on tomatoes, beans, and corn. They use their needle-like mouthparts to pierce plant tissues, extracting the juice from leaves and stems. This feeding process can inflict significant damage to your vegetables and fruits. Some other plants they can harm include:
The feeding habits of stink bugs can cause discoloration, deformities, and reduced yield in affected plants. To protect your garden, it’s essential to monitor for stink bugs and take steps to control their population. Good practices include:
- Inspecting plants regularly for signs of damage
- Removing nearby weeds that provide hiding spots
- Introducing natural predators like parasitic wasps
Be sure to keep an eye out for these pests during their active season, which reaches its peak in late summer and autumn. By being proactive and taking preventive measures, you can minimize the stink bugs’ impact on your garden and enjoy a healthy, bountiful harvest.
Identification of Stink Bugs
Stink bugs are known for their unpleasant odor which they emit when they feel threatened. To identify stink bugs, you should look for some key features:
- Shape: They have a shield-shaped body.
- Size: They measure between 14-17 mm long, roughly the size of a U.S. dime.
- Color: They come in various color patterns – green, brown, or with brown mottling.
- Antennae: The last two antennal segments have alternating broad light and dark bands.
One example of a common stink bug is the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. It has a brown mottled appearance and the distinct antennal pattern mentioned above.
Stink bugs can be found in various habitats, but you may encounter them on wood or amongst grass as they search for food. They are also known to be attracted to the color green, so keep an eye out for them near green foliage or plants.
When it comes to stink bugs, it’s essential to be aware of their appearance and habits, so you know how to manage and deal with them effectively. Remember, understanding their unique features and patterns is the first step in identifying stink bugs in your surroundings.
Stink Bug Infestation
Stink bugs can be a real nuisance when they invade your home, yard, or property. These insects can easily slip through small openings around windows, doors, or siding. Although stink bugs do not pose any direct threat to human health, their presence can be quite irritating.
They don’t bite or sting, but their foul-smelling odor is released when they feel threatened or get squashed. This smell can be strong and unpleasant, making stink bugs an unwelcome guest in anyone’s home.
To prevent a stink bug infestation, you should:
- Seal any gaps around windows, doors, or siding.
- Remove garden debris from your yard, as it can provide hiding spots for stink bugs.
- Use insecticides or traps to keep their numbers under control.
In a home situation, stink bugs do not cause any structural damage to your property. However, they can still be a nuisance pest. In agriculture, they can be more problematic, causing significant damage to various crops.
For those who have an existing stink bug infestation in their homes, consider the following methods to get rid of them:
- Use a vacuum cleaner to suck them up and dispose of them outside.
- Set up traps with the appropriate baits to catch and remove them from your home.
- In extreme cases, consider hiring a pest control professional to deal with the issue.
By being aware of the potential for stink bug infestations and knowing how to prevent and deal with them, you can better protect your property and maintain a comfortable living space.
Understanding Potential Damages
Stink bugs are not just a nuisance to homeowners; they can also cause significant damage to crops and the agricultural industry. These pests feed on fruits, seeds, stems, and leaves of a wide range of plants, making them a serious agricultural pest. They use their mouthparts to pierce plant tissues and suck out the juices, leading to disfigured and ruined crops .
Here are some potential damages caused by stink bugs:
- Feeding on immature fruits, leading to deformation
- Transmitting plant diseases as they move from one plant to another
- Reducing crop yields and quality
Stink bugs are particularly harmful to a variety of crops, including:
The agricultural industry needs to be cautious and take preventive measures to minimize stink bug infestations. Some strategies include monitoring crop fields, using insecticides, and practicing good farm sanitation to reduce potential breeding sites .
Now that you’re aware of the potential damages caused by stink bugs, it’s essential to remain vigilant and adopt effective control methods for the protection of your crops and the agricultural industry as a whole.
Stink Bugs and the Environment
Stink bugs are common pests that can be found in various parts of the world, including the United States, Canada, and Asia. They are known for their distinctive smell when disturbed or squashed, hence their name.
One particular species, the brown marmorated stink bug, is native to Asia but has become an invasive species in the U.S. and Canada. This bug poses a threat to agriculture, as it feeds on a wide variety of crops. Some characteristics of the brown marmorated stink bug include:
- Shield-shaped with brown mottling
- Sizes ranging from 14 to 17mm
- Alternating broad light and dark bands on abdominal edges and antennal segments
In the environment, stink bugs have both pros and cons:
- Prey on other pests, providing natural pest control for some crops
- Can be a major pest to crops such as cotton, rice, and soybean
- Invasive species, like the brown marmorated stink bug, can harm local ecosystems by outcompeting native species
To manage stink bugs, you can employ various methods of control, like vacuuming them up or startling them into a container. Remember that the best approach is prevention – seal your home to prevent their entry and avoid using chemicals that may harm beneficial insects. Be vigilant, and you can minimize the impact of stink bugs on your environment.
Effective Stink Bug Control
To effectively control stink bugs, you have a few options to choose from:
Traps: Stink bug traps can be effective in catching these pests. You can either purchase commercial traps or create your own simple DIY trap with a pan filled with soapy water, and place it under a light source to attract stink bugs.
Insecticides: There is a range of insecticides available that can help you in controlling stink bugs. Make sure to opt for products specifically labeled for stink bug control. Always read and follow the label instructions for safety.
Here’s a comparison of two common methods:
|Traps||Non-toxic, low maintenance||May not catch all stink bugs|
|Insecticides||Can provide quick control||Can harm non-target organisms|
In addition to these methods, you can take preventive measures like sealing cracks around windows and doors, and removing food sources (such as fruits and vegetables) that attract stink bugs.
For a more comprehensive approach, consider hiring a pest control professional to inspect your property and develop a customized treatment plan.
Remember, it’s essential to monitor the effectiveness of your chosen method and adjust your strategy as needed. Consistency and persistence are key in controlling stink bugs effectively.
Natural Predators of Stink Bugs
Stink bugs can be a nuisance, but luckily, they have their share of natural predators. Let’s take a look at some of these helpful creatures:
Birds enjoy feasting on stink bugs, especially when the bugs are in their early stages of development. Some common bird predators include sparrows, bluebirds, and cardinals.
Ants can also help control stink bug populations. Several ant species target stink bug eggs, effectively reducing the number of bugs that reach adulthood.
Predatory Stink Bugs might sound counter-intuitive, but they are actually considered a gardener’s friend. These bugs, such as the Spined Soldier Bug, feed on other insect pests, including their stink bug relatives.
Here is a comparison table of these natural predators:
|Predator||Prey Life Stage||Benefit|
|Birds (e.g., sparrows, bluebirds, cardinals)||Eggs, nymphs, adults||Reduce stink bug populations and contribute to ecosystem biodiversity|
|Ants||Eggs||Lower the number of stink bugs reaching adulthood|
|Predatory Stink Bugs (e.g., Spined Soldier Bug)||Eggs, nymphs, adults||Control other insect pests, including plant-feeding stink bugs|
Remember, attracting these natural predators to your garden can provide an eco-friendly way to manage stink bug infestations. So, go ahead and welcome these helpful creatures to your outdoor space!
Preventing Stink Bug Infestation
To prevent a stink bug infestation in your home, it’s crucial to seal cracks and entry points. It could be as simple as applying silicone or silicone-latex caulk around your doors, windows, and other possible openings in your home’s structure. This will not only keep stink bugs out but also help with energy efficiency.
Ensure that your window and door screens are in good condition. If needed, replace the screens or fix any holes to prevent stink bugs from entering. Leaving no gaps in your home’s exterior is a key step in keeping these pests at bay.
For example, you can:
- Apply silicone-latex caulk around doors and windows.
- Install door sweeps to close any gaps below the doors.
- Repair or replace damaged screens on windows and doors.
Following these steps will help you maintain a stink-bug-free environment in your home and enjoy a more comfortable living space. Remember, regular inspections and maintenance should be done to ensure your home’s defenses remain intact.
Stink Bugs in Your Home
If you’re a homeowner, you’re no stranger to dealing with unwanted pests. One such nuisance is the brown marmorated stink bug, which can invade your home, especially during the fall season. Although stink bugs don’t transmit diseases or make you sick, their presence can still be quite bothersome.
You may find stink bugs in various parts of your house, such as the attic or ceilings. Stink bugs are attracted to high points, often congregating on ceilings or walls. When startled, they fall straight down. To deal with stink bugs, consider the following methods:
- Vacuum them up: Make sure to empty the vacuum bag immediately to prevent lingering odors.
- Startle and collect them: Gently tap the area where stink bugs are gathered, and they’ll fall right into a container for easy disposal.
Here are some important facts about stink bugs in your home:
- Stink bugs release a foul odor when harassed or crushed.
- They don’t cause structural damage to your home.
- They don’t bite, sting, or transmit diseases to humans.
In conclusion, stink bugs can be a nuisance in your home, but they don’t pose any significant health risks. By employing simple strategies such as vacuuming and startling them, you can keep their population in check and maintain a comfortable living environment. Don’t let these pesky critters ruin your peace of mind!
Stink Bugs and Agriculture
Stink bugs can be a nuisance to agriculture due to their feeding habits, as they damage seeds, grains, nuts, and fruits. These pests are attracted to various crops and secrete a smelly, defensive chemical from specialized glands when disturbed.
In early spring, green stink bugs become active. Their presence is detected by:
- Brown liquid frass that dries into spots on leaves and fruits
- Visible stink bugs on the ground and between soil clods
Several factors impact stink bug infestations:
- Weather: Favorable conditions increase their activity
- Agricultural practices: Proper management can reduce their presence
Comparing two common stink bugs in agriculture:
|Aspect||Green Stink Bug||Consperse Stink Bug|
|Color||Bright green||Gray-brown to green|
|Eggs||Elliptical-shaped||Laid in clusters on twigs and leaves|
|Host plants||Highly polyphagous||Highly polyphagous|
|Damage to crops||Seeds, grains, nuts, fruits||Fruit, vegetable, and tree crops|
To protect your crops from stink bugs, monitor their activity and employ appropriate pest management strategies.
In dealing with stink bugs, it’s crucial to understand their nature. You’ll find that these insects have a shield-like shape and are generally oval. They also have straw-like mouthparts which they use for piercing and sucking. While feeding on plants, they prefer reproductive structures such as fruits, pods, and seeds, making them agricultural pests to fruit, vegetable, and grain crops.
Stink bugs are not just a nuisance; they can become a yearly occurrence when autumn approaches. You may encounter many species of stink bugs, and some are more detrimental to your garden than others. For instance, the brown marmorated stink bug is an invasive species that has become a significant pest to North American crops.
To protect your plants, consider implementing strategies to minimize stink bug infestations. For example, monitor and remove any infested plants early on and deploy physical barriers like nets. Additionally, attract beneficial insects to your garden, such as predatory bugs that naturally control stink bug populations.
In summary, being aware of stink bugs’ characteristics and habits will allow you to effectively manage these insects in your garden. Staying proactive in prevention and monitoring will help you maintain a healthy and pest-free environment for your plants.
Letter 1 – Black Stink Bug
a few pics for ya from Central Florida
Also including a pic of of a Black Stink Bug – Proxys punctulatus. These where all over the place for one day and manages to get this one to sit still long enough for a shot. I did not see one on your list so I am sending it to help others and save you some email.
Thanks for sending both of your images. We are very happy to be able to include a new species of Stink Bug on our site. BugGuide has additional information on this plant feeding species.
Letter 2 – CORRECTION: Black Stink Bug from Hawaii, not Leaf Beetle
Friend or foe?
June 23, 2011 1:03 am
I’ve been looking for the culprit that has been nibbling my eggplant leaves for some time now with no luck. Today I saw this bug which almost looks like a lady beetle. I took these photos, then watched it for a while to see if it left any holes (lol I know that seems silly but my plant is healthy overall). Either it was full or scouting because it didn’t appear to be eating. Is this a garden friend or no?
It’s quite lovely looking. I’m usually terrified of bugs 😉 but my garden which I love & this site which keeps me informed, are both making me braver.
Thanks for your awesome site that my kids and I learn from and enjoy.
We tried unsuccessfully to identify your beetle, which we believe to be a Leaf Beetle in the family Chrysomelidae. BugGuide’s section on Hawaiian Insects did not help, nor did our search for Hawaiian Chrysomelidae. Many insects found on Hawaii are not native. Perhaps one of our readers will be able to assist in this identification.
Update with Correction
Hi again Dasi,
While trying to research the new photo you submitted, we stumbled upon this Hawaiian insect page that pictures your Black Stink Bug, Coptosoma xanthogramma. Upon doing additional research, we learned it is not native on the Insects of Hawaii website. Then we found the ScholarSpace of the University of Hawai’i at Manoa website that it is considered “a New Pest of Legumes in Hawaii.” You may also find this excellent paper on the ScholarSpace site, which states: “Since the initial discovery of this bug in Honolulu during September, 1965, very heavy populations
have been observed on several legume hosts on Oahu, and it is considered a potentially serious pest of cultivated beans and certain ornamental vines and trees.” It also indicates the species originates in the Philippines.
That you so much for that great website. I had seen a very blurry photo on the other Hawaii bug id website and thought that might it be the one listed as “stink bug” but was unsure. I lost it shortly after taking the picture and haven’t seen it on my Eggplant since. Thanks for the most excellent info. Hmm, does that mean he emits an odor as protection?
I’m also glad that I found that ladybug–a welcome addition to my garden. I did notice during my research that quite a few lady beetles were introduced to Hawaii. Thanks again for all your effort.
Letter 3 – Bronze Orange Bug Nymph from Australia
Flat Yellow Insect from the backyard
Tue, Nov 11, 2008 at 1:25 AM
We hope you can help us identify an insect that my son found in the backyard in a paved area. It is about the size of a 5 cent coin, flat and yellow in colour with a black spot in the middle if its back and a thin black line around the edge of its body. It has black and yellow stripes on the antennae. it does not appear to have any wings and is happy to sit and walk around on my sons hand. He thinks it is lovely and want to keep it as a pet and find out what it eats!
Australia (Gold Coast)
Hi Bug Lovers,
The reason your Bronze Orange Bug, Musgraveia sulciventris, doesn’t have wings is that it is an immature nymph. We found matching images on the Geocities website where the text indicates that they suck the sap from citrus tree leaves and twigs.
Letter 4 – Rough Stink Bug
Location: Orange County, California
June 20, 2011 7:24 pm
Ran across this guy near my house. I’ve never seen this kind of bug around here, so I figured it was foreign. It didn’t fly off even when I got inches away to take this shot.
Signature: Mike Michika
This is a Rough Stink Bug in the genus Brochymena and it ranges across North America.
Letter 5 – Anchor Stink Bug
smiley face bug
Can you tell me what it is? I call it the smiley bug, but I’d like to know the real name. It’s about the size of a lady bug, maybe a little bigger. Found in Dallas, Georgia.
We will contact Eric Eaton to see if he knows what species this unique Stink Bug is. Here is Eric’s response: “The unknown stink bug is the Anchor Stink Bug, Stiretrus anchorago,” which comes in several color schemes, including deep blue and red. This is a “good” species, in that it is predatory, often feeding on webworms in fact. Hope this helps. Eric”
Letter 6 – Another Tree Stink Bug
Wide, Flat, brown/grey bug with 2 antennae at front and six legs
December 16, 2009
I’ve been living in an apartment for 3 years and have just recently started seeing this bug about a month ago.
I’ve since seen 5 of them in my apartment all within the month.
They are big, wide, and sort of flat. They have 2 small antennae (about half the size of its body) pointing forward and six legs. I’ve seen it fly…and due to the large nature of the bug, it’s make a rather obvious buzzing sound.
Scared of Bugs
Westchester County, New York
Dear Scared of Bugs,
Though your photos are all quite blurry, this identification is easy. This is a harmless Tree Stink Bug or Rough Stink Bug in the genus Brochymena. This is the second letter we have received and are posting today regarding this genus. Tree Stink Bugs frequently enter home as the weather cools. They will hibernate and emerge in the spring, and they will not harm the home, its contents, or the human or animal inhabitants, though they are predators and they do feed on other insects.
Letter 7 – Australian Stink Bug and molted exoskeleton
Bronze orange stink bug Australia
Yesterday we (carefully gloved) were picking the stink bugs (Musgraveia sulciventris)* off the citrus, when I found this strange creature. After it had posed patiently for my camera for some minutes without moving, I realised it was not alive. Eventually the penny dropped – it was a stink bug moult! I’ve included the adult for your interest: a much loathed creature, but beautiful up close. *We don’t kill them, but, as they are natives, release them in the bush. Best wishes,
Thanks for sending us your photos of an Australian Stink Bug and its cast off skin.
Letter 8 – Australian Stink Bug Nymph or Jewel Bug
What’s this bug?
Just wondered if you could identify this beetle seen a month ago in the Royal National Park just south of Sydney. Is it a Jewel Beetle? Many thanks for any help you can offer. Best regards
This in not a Beetle. It is a Hemipteran in the family Pentatomidae, the Stink Bugs. It is an immature specimen which makes species identification more difficult. Many Stink Bugs have bright metallic coloration and we found a page that identifies a similar looking specimen as being in the family Scutelleridae which are called Jewel Bugs in Australia.
Letter 9 – Bronze Orange Stink Bug from Australia
Subject: Bug living on Citrus Tree
Location: Sydney Australia
December 27, 2013 1:50 am
My 3 yo spends a lot of time in the garden with insects. He has me stumped on this bug we’ve found on a citrus tree leave in Southern Hemisphere summer (Dec). Can u help?
We did a web search of “stink bug citrus Australia” and we found an image of your Bronze Orange Stink Bug, Musgraveia sulciventris, on the Butterfly House website where we frequently search for Australian caterpillars. Seems they have a page devoted to the lemon tree. According to the Brisbane Insect website: “They suck sap from young shoots of of the plants. The first and second pictures above show the bugs sucking the juice from the new shot of the Citrus plant. Notice their sucking mouth-parts and the wilted tips of the plant. … After mating the females lay eggs on leaf for the next generations.”
Thanks for the quick response Daniel!
Letter 10 – Can stain from Stink Bugs from Australia be used to dye skin???
Musgraveia sulciventris skin stain
November 9, 2011 4:46 pm
Hi, my wife was picking these stink bugs off the citrus and now has orange stained fingers. Even a week later they are strongly stained and nothing she has tried can wash it off. A bit like henna.
Can the dye in the bugs be isolated and used as a skin dye like henna?
Signature: Alexander Rosser
We will try to locate information on the potential for skin dye from the excretion of the Bronze Orange Bug from Australia.
Letter 11 – Clown Stink Bug from Korea, perhaps
A cool Korean bug
October 19, 2010 4:23 pm
This interesting specimen was spotted in Korea. I recognized hemipteran features, and after a little research, I thought it was probably pentatomoidean; maybe genus Eurydema.
Am I right? Can we narrow down the species?
Signature: Brian J Bowers
This is certainly a Stink Bug in the family Pentatomidae. We opened your letter last night and selected the image as one we wanted to research in the morning, and we got trapped in the horrible software update cycle that required quitting most of what we were doing before we could resume posting. We had begun researching and we followed some leads beginning with a five year old posting on our site of a Clown Stink Bug nymph, Poecilocoris lewisi, but old links we provided were no longer active. Interestingly, the person who submitted that image was led to our site because Randy Cassingham had selected us as the Bonzer Web Site of the Week. We then searched for some new links of pictures of the adult, and though the markings were very similar to your image, the black appears to be green metallic like this Korean post card. We did find one Korean website with images identified as Poecilocoris lewisi that look like your photo. That still seems to be a closer match than the Eurydema images that Google produces.
Letter 12 – Colorful Stink Bug from Canary Islands
sum bug help!
I just found your site and I must say it’s really awesome!! I’m from Canary Islands, Spain. I found this today walking around my lettuces and I’m wondering if it’s good or bad (I mean for my veggy garden, I know it won’t harm me). I think it’s an hemipteran, but I’m not sure what it feeds on. I googled it a little bit, but I’ve read some feed on other smaller insects, others eat plants and some feed on blood. Can you ID this one for me and maybe guess what it eats? Thank you, and keep up the great job! Hugs,
We can’t tell you the species, but we have narrowed down your identification to the family level. This colorful specimen is a Stink Bug in the family Pentatomidae. It is probably a plant eating specimen (sucking mouthparts for ingesting plant fluids) but some Stink Bugs are predatory. In trying to find you an answer, we found a profile on an entomologist, Jordi Ribes, who specializes in the Pentatomidae of Europe, and we will try to contact him.
This Stink bug is Eurydema (Eurydema) ornata (L. 1758). Best wishes.
Letter 13 – Conchuela Stink Bug
Location: Chico, CA
May 31, 2014 10:56 am
I was checking out this elderberry when I noticed these critters. Excited, I rushed to the interwebs to see if they were in fact the elusive VELB. The coloring is that of the female VELB; but the shape is that of a stinkbug. Would it be possible for the two spp. to mingle such that this “stinkVELB” was the product of such a union? And, if not, what bug is this?
Signature: J. Murphy
Dear J. Murphy,
We are amused at your suspicion that this might be a species mingling, and we agree that the coloration and markings of the Stink Bugs in your image resemble the color and markings of the Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle as well as some other related subspecies of Desmocerus aureipennis, including the Golden Winged Elder Borer. We identified your Stink Bug as the Conchuela Stink Bug, Chlorochroa ligata, thanks to the New Mexico State University website. According to BugGuide, the Conchuela Stink Bug: “prefers fleshy fruits of various plants, especially agarita, balsam-gourd and mesquite; also on sage, yucca, mustards, prickly pear (Opuntia), and various crops (cotton, alfalfa, corn, sorghum, grapes, peas, tomatoes, etc.); primarily a seed feeder preferring leguminous plants (once mesquite beans dry, the bugs move to more succulent plants)” and it seems, based on your image, the fruit of Elderberry as well.
Thank you so much for your expertise and time, and for your enchanting website.
Letter 14 – Conchuela Stink Bug Nymphs
Subject: What kind of beetle is this ?
Location: Victoria, BC Canada.
July 21, 2014 2:45 am
I took a picture and I would like to know what kind of beetle is in the picture?
Signature: Thank you, in advance.
These are not beetles. They are immature Conchuela Stink Bugs.
Letter 15 – Countdown Five postings until we reach 20,000: Black Stink Bug
Subject: Some kind of Stink Bug(I think)
Location: Mims, Florida
March 31, 2015 9:08 pm
I took these pictures yesterday of what I originally thought was a Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, but after viewing pictures of them online I was unable to find any comparable color patterns.
You are correct that this is a Stink Bug in the family Pentatomidae, but we needed to research its identity. Relatively quickly we located the Featured Creatures site indicating that this is a Black Stink Bug, Proxys punctulatus, and this information is provided: “The biology of the black stink bug, Proxys punctulatus (Palisot), is not well known. It has a broad geographical range in the Americas but does not appear to damage agricultural crops as do other more important pentatomids. Black stink bugs appear to be facultative feeders on plants and other insects.” The host plants are listed as: “Black stink bugs have been collected in cotton, soybean and citrus. They feed on plant juices, with some documented association with Commelina (dayflowers) species. Although the black stink bug is a phytophagous species, it can also be predaceous, and has been found attacking insect larvae in cotton.” Additional information can be found on BugGuide. It seems the only other image of a Black Stink Bug in our archives is nine years old.
Letter 16 – Birch Shield Bug
In July 2004 our birch trees were COVERED with all stages of these Birch Bugs – Stink Bugs – Birch Shield Bugs. Please verify that name for me? Thanks!
The Birch Shield Bug, Elasmostethus interstinctus, is a very good match in our minds. The Picture Page website says: “Canadians and Americans usually refer to this species simply as the Birch Bug.” Your photo shows various immature instars, but no winged adults. BugGuide does not represent this species, but has photos of two other members in the genus. Shield Bugs are in the family Acanthosomatidae, and Stink Bugs are in the family Pentatomidae, so calling this species a Stink Bug would be incorrect.
Letter 17 – Giant Shield Bug from Macedonia
what that bug?
March 15, 2010
my friend found this under her window
This is a Giant Shield Bug nymph from the family Tessaratomidae. We located a similar image on TrekNature, possibly from Thailand, that was only identified to the family level. We could not locate an exact match on the Illustrated Catalog of Tessaratomidae website. Most species from this family are found in Southeast Asia and China, so we thought this would not be a difficult species identification, but we are having difficulty. Perhaps one of our readers will have better luck.
Letter 18 – Giant Shield Bug from Malasia
Orange bug, what is that?
Hi, I’m currently doing a school project on insects when I found this insect in a forest. Can you pls help me identify this insect possibly by this month as my deadline is the end of January? I’m from Malaysia. my friend’s father got it from the jungle in Johor. A jungle in Janda Baik, i think. Do you have any idea what order it is from? I was thinking maybe of a shield bug and perhaps it’s common name? Thank you very much.
Hi Su Yan,
We agree that it is a Hemipteran, but we turned to expert Eric Eaton for additional information. He wrote back: “A book I have (“Bugs of the World”) has an image of similar insects it places in the family Tessaratomidae, the “giant shieldbugs.” That is the best guess I can hazard, being here in the mundane U.S.”
Letter 19 – Giant Shield Bug Nymphs from Tanzania
Subject: What’s this bug
Location: Northern Tanzania
February 13, 2016 11:51 pm
Seen in the pare mountains in northern Tanzania , was dripping liquid from its behind
This identification presented quite a challenge for us, and though we have not found anything conclusive, we are deducing its identity based on what we have been able to uncover on the internet. These are immature True Bugs in the suborder Heteroptera, and they really remind us of immature Giant Mesquite Bugs found in North America because of both their bright colors and habit of remaining in aggregations. In beginning our search, we did not want to leave out the possibility of your individuals being members of the superfamily Pentatomoidea that includes Stink Bugs and Shield Bugs. Our first visual match is of a drawing we found on Etsy that is identified as Piezosternum subulatum and the site indicates that the art print “Ships worldwide from Puerto Rico.” We found a very good likeness to Piezosternum subulatum on FlickR, but it also seems to originate from Puerto Rico. We decided to research any relatives found in Africa, and on the French site Heteroptera, we found six members of the genus listed, three from Central and South America and three from Africa and Madagascar. We also learned that the genus is classified in the family Tessaratomidae, commonly called Giant Shield Bugs or Giant Stink Bugs. Piezosternum fallax is listed from the countries “Cameroon, Central African Rep., Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Zaire” so that seemed like a good possibility, but alas, Heteroptera only pictures the adults and your individuals are nymphs. It should be noted that many immature Heteropterans are brightly colored, but upon growing wings when they mature, the wings hide the bright colors of the body. We have not had any luck locating any images on nymphs in the genus Piezosternum from Africa to verify if our suspicions are correct so we eagerly welcome input from our readership to solve this query with visual evidence.
Hey Daniel, thanks so much , that’s was so thorough and educational and overall interesting . I hope you guys enjoyed seeing the pxutures as well though they don’t do the little guys justice in the least bit . Keep me updated as more information possibly becomes available , I live in a pretty remote area and near some understudied old growth forest so you never know what I’ll run into around here ! I appreciate the help and look forward to sending stuff your way in the future . If anything is ever undataloged would be happy to share the credit . Best wishes and have a great day !
We really look forward to getting additional submissions from you David. It is marvelous that some old growth forest is being preserved as open space in Tanzania.
Letter 20 – Drawing of Achor Stink Bug Nymph
Drawing of Beetle
August 21, 2012 12:39 PM
I don’t know if you have found my request yet or not, but just in case (and possibly to save you time) I am re-sending both the drawing and the original request, which I sent on August 1 – probably just before you were away:
My daughter just called me with a description of an insect that we can’t identify. Unfortunately she can’t get a good photo, but gave me very detailed instructions over the phone, by which I have attempted to draw it for you. It is shaped more or less like a ladybug, but a bit larger than the ones we usually see – about the size of a Japanese beetle. It is mostly white, (with a pearly sort of sheen to it,) but has markings in blackish iridescent green, including a border at the edge of each shell that runs from its “shoulders” all the way to the back of the shell, but leaving a narrow white strip at the edge that you do not see from above- only when you look from the side. The green stripe becomes narrower towards the back, so that from above it almost appears
not to connect at the back, but from behind you can see that it is a continuous band. The band dents in slightly at the front, making the central white area slightly heart-shaped. It has seven green spots, arranged from front to back in three evenly spaced pairs, and ending in a single spot in the center. The center pair of spots is slightly larger. The front pair are slightly oval.
The center and rear pairs are each joined by a hair-thin line. The pronotum has a marking in the center about the width of the head, that dents in, then out, then in again. Its antennae have no obvious club. The first half of each antenna is orange, and the far half is black with a bit of a gap in it. As best I can tell from her description, the head appears to have a sort of snout or proboscis. She described it as looking almost like a third antenna, (and colored the same,) with which it was grasping its prey, which she believed to be the larva of a tortoise beetle. Its legs are orange, and its feet black. Only the feet are visible from above, but from the side it looks leggier than a ladybug. Its stomach is about half and half black and orange, but the insect disappeared on her before she could get down the markings. It appears to be a beneficial insect. Can you identify it from this description and my second-hand drawing? I will be curious to see how close my drawing came! Thank you so much for your great website- I use it often!
(Update – I mailed my drawing to my daughter to have her check it for accuracy, and remarkably, she says the drawing I did by her instructions over the phone is almost identical to the one she did while actually looking at the beetle!)
This drawing really accurately resembles an immature Stink Bug. There are many possible species, and this email did not contain a location. It might be a Southern Green Stink Bug Nymph. There are many other possibilities. Here is a Green Stink Bug Nymph and here is another unidentified Stink Bug Nymph from our archives.
Sorry, I meant to mention that the insect was found in Bridgton, Maine (USA.) None of the stink bug nymphs on either your website or BugGuide look quite like it, although the one from Maine does come closer than the others. My daughter said it was a beetle, not a bug, but I will have to question her further to make sure she had that right. I am hoping to get out to see her this weekend, and will see if I can download her fuzzy photo onto something I can bring back to my computer and send to you.
Ed. Note: August 26, 2012
After several comment exchanges, akienhorse eventually matched this drawing to an Anchor Stink Bug nymph on bugGuide.
Letter 21 – Rough Stink Bug
Is this a stinkbug?
Location: Sunnyvale, CA 94086
November 14, 2010 5:56 pm
I saw this bug on my windshield in Sunnyvale, CA, yesterday and was wondering what it was. I’ve seen them before and thought they might be some variety of stinkbug. I think they’re fairly common around there.
This is indeed a Stink Bug. More specifically, it is a Rough Stink Bug in the genus Brochymena. This is a beneficial species that is predatory and it feeds mainly on caterpillars. See BugGuide for additional information.
Letter 22 – Rough Stink Bug
Pest or Pedestrian: Black bug found walking on curtain rod
Location: Seattle WA, USA
October 10, 2011 12:09 pm
What species of insect is this? What I really want to know: Is this a pest I need to control, or a harmless individual that lost its way?
A few days ago, my cat heard this thing making some noise (I didn’t hear it) in the livingroom.
The cat and I looked up to watch the bug, which was perched was on a curtain rod, 7 feet (2.something meters) off the floor.
It didn’t run when I captured it. It may not have wings.
I took it outside, set it on a paper towel with a US quarter and took some pictures.
Then I set the paper towel on the back yard fence.
The bug was not in a hurry to leave.
I watched it just sit there, sunning itself for a couple of minutes.
I looked a few hours later and it had wondered off.
I tried to find it amongst the pictures on www.whatsthatbug.com, but I didn’t find a doubtless match.
This is a Rough Stink Bug or Tree Stink Bug in the genus Brochymena. Many Stink Bugs seek shelter indoors in the fall when the weather cools so they can hibernate. This is probably true of the Rough Stink Bug, but it will not harm you or your house. You can read more about Rough Stink Bugs on BugGuide.
Letter 23 – Rough Stink Bug
Subject: Could this be a triatomine (”kissing”) bug?
Location: Austin, TX
December 3, 2013 3:30 pm
I’m concerned this bug might be the potentially deadly kissing bug, especially since my area is particularly at risk. I appreciate anything you can tell me about it!
You were observant enough to notice resemblance to the Kissing Bug, and though your insect is in the same order, the two are in different families. This is a Rough Stink Bug in the genus Brochymena, and it is perfectly harmless.
Letter 24 – African Cluster Bug in California
Subject: Bug ID
Location: Rancho Cucamonga, CA
December 14, 2016 3:35 pm
These guys showed up a couple of weeks ago and number in the thousands.
Can you tell me what it is? Of course you can! You’re the Bugman!
Signature: Jimi Streets
Dear Jimi Streets,
Though we immediately recognized your insect as a Stink Bug in the family Pentatomidae, we did not recognize the species, but that changed as soon as we located this image of an African Cluster Bug, Agonoscelis puberula, on BugGuide. According to BugGuide, the range is “mostly sw US (BG data) native to e. & so. Africa, introduced and established in the New World (so. US, Mexico, West Indies) since ca. 1985” and “earliest record in our area: AZ 1990.” Your submission represents a new species on our site unless this posting from just last month turns out to truly be an African Cluster Bug. According to Texas Invasives: “Agonoscelis puberula are usually found in large groups and are rarely found individually or in pairs. It is an important indication if one has been located because there are likely hundreds more nearby. An individual seed of horehound may contain a cluster of 30 adult African Cluster Bugs.”
Letter 25 – Bronze Orange Bug relative from Australia
November 19, 2009
Thank you so much!
I have one more bug picture that I have yet to identify. I took it when I was in the Daintree Rainforest in Australia. I looks like a stink bug to me, but I’ve never seen anything with the coloring and design.
Thanks again! I really appreciate your help!
Daintree Rainforest, Australia
Hi again Heather,
The Bronze Orange Bug, Musgraveia sulciventris, is one of the Large Stink Bugs in the family Tessaratomidae, and it looks similar to your specimen, but your individual is more colorful. You can see pictures of the Bronze Orange Bug on saveourwaterwaysnow.com and on the Brisbane Insect Website. We are relatively certain your bug is in the same family, and perhaps the same genus, and it might even be a color variation. We located images of another member of the genus, Musgraveia antennata, but it doesn’t match either. The Illustrated Catalog of Tessaratomidae has some similar specimens, but nothing exact. There are some unpictured specimens from the genus Oncomeris, and a picture of Oncomeris flavicornis flavicornis from New Guinea that has similar legs. Perhaps one of our readers will be able to assist us in an exact identification.
Identification Courtesy of Karl
November 19, 2009
I believe you are very close. I think the genus is indeed Oncomeris, but probably not O. flavicornis. I could find only one image of O. dilatus and it looks extremely close, but I could find virtually no information about the species to help me out. The ‘God of Insects’ site gives its range as Papua New Guinea, but this may be incomplete and northern Queensland does share much of its insect fauna with PNG. It always surprises me when there is so little information to be found for such a large and strikingly beautiful insect. Perhaps someone else can help to nail this one down. Regards.
Letter 26 – Bug On Thumb: A reader begins her own Bug Blog
Hello Friends and Insect Enthusiasts,
After much hemming and hawing and per the requests of many of you, I’ve finally put together the beginnings of an insect blog. Wooohoo! It’s not much yet, but I hope to grow it over the years.
It’s called BugonthumB and can be found here: bugonthumb.tumblr.com
The name: I was going through my insect photos one day and realized that a lot of them are of insects perched on my thumb, the nail of which is often painted a bright shade of pink or blue or yellow. Nothing, I think, accessories like a frog-legged beetle.
Anyway, I’m poking you guys first because I know you have an interest in science and nature, are as obsessed with spiders and their kin as I am, OR are terrified of spiders and their kin (you know who you are)–in which case, I want this blog to help change your mind.
I’m also kicking the blog off with a “Big Bug Week” in Taiwan, during which time I will travel around Taiwan trying to find and photograph as many insects as I can in seven days. There is more information about this trip, including a list of rules, on the blog. Please check it out as I leave for Formosa tomorrow and will start posting tomorrow night!
When it comes to personal blogging, I am a beginner, and so I would love your feedback and advice.
And please continue to send me interesting arthropod-related stories, links, photos, etc. so I can post them.
I hope everyone is well and is starting to see the beginnings of spring, which of course means bugs.
Your humble bug wrangler,
Marian Lyman Kirst
How exciting Marian. What’s That Bug? is happy to promote your new blog. We are accompanying this posting with a photo of a Shield Bug on your Thumb that you submitted to us last year. We still get comments and positive feedback on the article you wrote about Daniel in High Country News.
Letter 27 – First Ever: Nasty Reader Award
Hawthorn Shieldbug: Concise answer results in virulent response
Real culprit is cad of a boyfriend!!!!!
Bug ID Request
I live in Glasgow, Scotland, and I am moving house next week and picked up some boxes from my local supermarket for packing purposes.Theseboxes appear to have originated in the Cameroons and Costa Rica. This morning I awoke to the bug below sauntering around on my window blinds. After taking these snaps I set it free out of the window, however would be very interested to know what type of bug this was and if it could have arrived in the boxes.Can you help?
stink bug, probably local
Re: Bug ID Request
Well thank you for the thorough reply. I have spent the whole afternoon wondering what the BUG MAN was going to say to me. I told all my friends about you and everything. I’m now feeling rather sorry for myself and the $20 paypal donation that I was going to send your way can now take a hike! 3 hours ago I thought “the bug man rocks” – now I think “the bug man SUCKS”! Keep up the good work….. LOSER!
Ed. Response: Here at What’s That Bug? we can only post a small fraction of the submissions that come our way. In addition to posting to our site, we also send a personal email to the querent. In an effort to assist as many of our curious readers as possible, we sometimes respond personally without posting our answers. These answers are generally concise, to the point, and answer the questions posed. Lorna requested an identification as well as information regarding her insect’s origin. We answered both questions and do not feel we deserved the virulent, hateful and insultory response we got from what evidence indicates might be a malcontent. In an effort to be more thorough, we now believe this is a Hawthorn Shieldbug, Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale, as evidenced by this link. The family Acanthosomatidae or Shield Bugs and the family Pentatomidae or Stink Bugs are closely related and both in the superfamily Pentatomoidea. Stink Bugs and Shield Bugs are easily confused. Please email Lorna Easton at (censored) and tell her what you think. Remember What’s That Bug? is a public service that does not profit from this column.
And the Public Weighs In
Here are some of the emails we were copied on when our kind and faithful readers responded to Lorna.
(05/14/2007) I hope that nasty email didn’t rattle you too much
I sent her this reply. “You’re lucky they answered your email at all. They receive hundreds of ID requests a day. They are also both teachers, and provide US with the service of this webpage. You need a lesson in manners. Would you treat your parents the way you acted toward Lisa Ann and Daniel? If so, I’m surprised you’re still above ground.” Please know that there are many of us out here that appreciate what you do with your web page. We also know that you have full time jobs, and this is something that you do for an art project with no monetary compensation. It also provides us with knowledge and information about all these wonderful creatures. I get upset when I see a letter like this, as I’ve seen a few others on your site resembling this one. Not all people are self-centered and absorbed as this person is. I check your webpage every day, and I just LOVE IT! When you were on vacation last year in Ohio picking tomatoes, I emailed you telling you of my withdrawal pains,(no new pics-lol) and you sent me a wonderful email. Keep up the good work, Lisa and Daniel. Regards,
(05/14/2007) Your bug
Does your mommy know you are on the internet? Your email to “What’s That Bug?” makes me think you are about 12 years old. Thanks for the laugh, anyway. Next time, do your own damn homework.
CW (not affiliated with WTB in any way, shape, or form – just a frequent reader)
Lorna responds: (05/14/2007)
Hi, I am utterly horrified that you have received such an email. This was not sent by me but by my extremely rude and unprincipled boyfriend who has been told exactly what I think of him. It is completely unacceptable that you received such an offensive response when you were helping me in your own time to answer my query I cannot apologise enough and I am going to make him make a donation to your organisation or whatever charity you would wish funds to go to – please let me know. Once again my sincere apologies,
Thank you for writing back to clear up this gross misunderstanding. Please choose some local environmental charity for your donation and then kick that cad of a boyfriend to the curb. We would also strongly recommend changing your password. In lieu of the misunderstanding, we will remove your email address from the posting on our site so our devoted readership, many of whom will act like a mother bear defending her cubs on our behalf, will no longer be able to inundate you with their private thoughts.
P.S. Your (hopefully) former boyfriend is still the recipient of the First Ever Nasty Reader Award.
Letter 28 – Eucalyptus Shield Bug Hatchlings from Australia
Bug ID needed
Sun, Dec 21, 2008 at 2:34 PM
Hi, My hubby found these little guys hatching out of little silver cachou like eggs and I took macros of them, thinking they were spiders. After downloading and looking at them on the PC, we discovered they were actually little bugs. We have never seen anything like them before and would dearly love to know what they are. When I checked them again today, there were more eggs present. Hope you can help.
Lynne from Bauple, Oz
These are definitely True Bugs, and most probably Stink Bugs in the family Pentatomidae. Sadly, hatchlings can often be extremely difficult to properly identify to the species level.
Sun, Dec 28, 2008 at 5:09 PM
Hi Daniel, I am pretty sure the bugs are eucalyptus shield bugs. Here is a photo of some eucalyptus shield bug hatchlings taken in our backyard a year ago, and also a later development.
Australia, east coast
According to both the Brisbane Insect web site and the Save Our Waterways web site, the Eucalyptus Shield Bugs in the genus Poecilometis are in the Stink Bug family Pentatomidae. The Stink Bugs of Australia web site has specific host trees mentioned for many of the species in the genus Poecilometis. Interestingly, the insects commonly called Shield Bugs in the U.S. are in the family Acanthosomatidae, not Pentatomidae.
Thanks for the info.
Your website is a godsend – there is so much anti-bug sentiment around (“If it moves, kill it.”) and it is good to read the messages from people whose attitudes have been changed after seeing all the beautiful creatures on your site. And, of course, to see all the amazing bugs there are in the world.
I wish you and Lisa a very happy New Year.