Stink Bug Life Cycle: A Close Look into Their Intriguing Development

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Stink bugs belong to the family Pentatomidae within the order Hemiptera, which is home to a variety of species and genera. These insects have earned their name from the unpleasant odor they emit as a defense mechanism against predators.

Understanding the stink bug life cycle can help you identify and manage these pests more effectively. The life cycle has multiple stages, including egg, nymph, and adult. Depending on the specific species, the duration of each stage and the number of generations per year may vary.

Stink Bug Description

Physical Appearance

Stink bugs belong to the family Pentatomidae and are known for their distinct shield shape. They have five-segmented antennae, legs, and a head that is often hidden beneath their shell. Depending on the species, they come in various colors – the brown marmorated stink bug has a mottled brown coloration, while the green stink bug is light green. Some other colors include dark red, orange, and black.

As stink bugs grow, they go through different life stages called instars. The first instar nymph has a dark red head and thorax, with black legs and antennae. With each molt, the color of the nymphs changes, eventually reaching their final adult coloration.

Habitat and Distribution

Stink bugs are native to Asia and some parts of North America. The brown marmorated stink bug, for example, originated in China, while the green stink bug can be found from Florida to Pennsylvania in the United States. They inhabit a variety of environments, from forests and fields to gardens and orchards.

Some common features of stink bug habitats include:

  • Plant diversity
  • Access to food sources, such as plants and insects
  • Availability of shelter, like under rocks or tree bark

Recognizing Stink Bugs

Stink bugs can be easily recognized by their unique shield-shaped body and the unpleasant smell they release when disturbed or stressed. This smell is a defense mechanism used to deter predators like ants and larger insects.

Identifying features of stink bugs include:

  • Shield-shaped body
  • Five-segmented antennae
  • Recent history of sightings in or around your home

Stink bugs can become a nuisance when they enter homes, looking for warm, sheltered places to spend the winter. To minimize the chance of stink bugs becoming unwanted guests, you can:

  • Seal potential entry points like gaps around windows and doors
  • Use screens on windows and vents
  • Regularly check for signs of stink bugs and take appropriate action if found

Stink Bug Lifecycle

Egg Stage

In the beginning of a stink bug’s life cycle, the female stink bug will lay eggs. These light green eggs are typically placed in clusters, attached to plants or other surfaces. Here’s what you should know about the egg stage:

  • Eggs are laid in egg masses.
  • Light green color.
  • Found in clusters.
  • Attached to various surfaces.

Nymph Stage

Once the eggs hatch, nymphs emerge. These nymphs go through several instar stages. During this development, they’ll molt, shedding their exoskeletons to allow for growth. Here are the key points about the nymph stage:

  • Nymphs go through instar stages.
  • Growth is accompanied by molting.
  • Nymphs are typically wingless.

Adult Stage

After completing the nymph stage, stink bugs become adults. As adults, they focus on mating and reproduction. Stink bugs have a unique ability called overwintering, which helps them survive harsh winter conditions. Below are a few aspects of the adult stage:

  • Mating and reproduction are prioritized.
  • Adults overwinter to survive cold conditions.

By understanding the stink bug lifecycle, you can better deal with these insects and protect your plants, home, or simply satisfy your curiosity.

Stink Bug Behavior

Feeding Habits

Stink bugs have piercing-sucking mouthparts that they use to feed on various plants. During summer, you may find them feasting on plant leaves like corn, tomato, apple, soybean, bean, pea, squash, and clover. Their feeding habits can cause significant damage to crops and gardens.

For example, stink bugs feeding on soybean and corn can lead to reduced yield and quality of the crops. Be sure to keep an eye on your plants, especially during the summer months, in case any stink bugs have made their way onto the leaves.

Seasonal Behavior

Stink bugs exhibit specific behaviors depending on the season:

  • Summer: Stink bugs are active and feed on various plants during this season. It’s essential to monitor your crops and take preventive measures to minimize the damage they can cause.
  • Late Fall: As the weather gets cooler, stink bugs begin to seek shelter in preparation for overwintering. They might enter your home and other structures in search of a warm, secure place to survive the winter months.
  • Overwinter: After finding suitable shelter, stink bugs will remain inactive throughout winter until the early spring when they’ll emerge and resume feeding on plants.

A few essential points to remember about stink bug behavior:

  • Active during summer, feeding on plants such as corn, soybean, and apple
  • Seek shelter in late fall, potentially entering your home for warmth
  • Overwinter in secure, warm locations until early spring

By understanding the behavior of stink bugs, especially their feeding habits and seasonal patterns, you can take appropriate steps to protect your crops and home from these pests. Keep a close eye on your plants and home surroundings, particularly during summer and late fall, to prevent any stink bug infestations.

Stink Bugs and Agriculture

Potential Damage

Stink bugs can be a significant pest in agriculture, as they feed on a variety of crops including cotton, rice, and soybean. They can also damage vegetables, beans, peas, corn, and fruit trees like apple, pear, and peach. The brown marmorated stink bug, in particular, can be quite harmful as it infests various hosts, causing not only crop losses but also reducing the quality of the produce.

Some examples of the damage inflicted by stink bugs on plants:

  • Discoloration (yellowing, browning) on leaves and fruits
  • Deformation or curling of leaves
  • Stunted growth or reduced yield in crops

Management Strategies

To effectively manage stink bug infestations, it’s essential to combine multiple strategies like biology control, using insecticides, and implementing pheromone traps. Here are some ways you can control these pests:

Biological control: Utilizing natural enemies like parasitic wasps or predators, such as the rough shield bug, which feed on stink bugs can limit their population.

Pheromone traps: These devices use stink bug pheromones to attract and capture the pests, helping to monitor their populations and reduce their numbers.

Insecticides: When necessary, you can resort to using broad-spectrum insecticides. However, it’s essential to use these chemicals judiciously, as they can also harm beneficial insects.

Extermination: In some cases, contacting a professional exterminator might be the most effective solution for severe infestations.

Pros and Cons of various strategies:

Strategy Pros Cons
Biological Control Eco-friendly, long-term solution May not be effective in all situations
Pheromone Traps Non-toxic, useful for monitoring May require time for enough reduction in numbers
Insecticides Fast-acting, effective Can harm non-target insects, may cause resistance
Extermination Quick resolution of severe cases Costly, may require repeat treatments

Remember, stink bug management requires regular monitoring and timely interventions based on their population trends and potential damage to your crops. By using these strategies wisely, you can mitigate the detrimental impact of these pests on your agricultural lands.

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Types of Stink Bugs

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) is an invasive species from China that has become an agricultural pest in the United States. These shield-shaped bugs are between 14 and 17 mm long, with brown mottling and a distinctive pattern of broad light and dark bands on their antennae and abdominal edges.

Green Stink Bug

Green Stink Bugs are a common pest in cotton, rice, and soybean. The Green Stink Bug has a light green color, making it easy to distinguish from other stink bug species. Their scientific name is Acrosternum hilare, and like other stink bugs, they emit an offensive odor when handled.

Brown Stink Bug

Brown Stink Bugs are dark red, with a smoother underside compared to other stink bug species. They can be distinguished from the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug by their uniform dark brown color. These bugs may cause damage to agricultural crops, although they are not considered as much of a threat as the invasive BMSB.

Euschistus Servus

The Euschistus Servus, also known as the Brown Stink Bug, is another native stink bug species. This bug is often found in mass, causing issues for farmers and homeowners alike. It is similar in size and shape to the other stink bugs mentioned, but has its own unique features that differentiate it from the others.

Stink Bug Species Color Size Origin Pest Status
BMSB Brown mottling 14-17 mm China Invasive to the United States
Green Stink Bug Light Green Similar Size Native Major pest in cotton, rice, and soybean
Brown Stink Bug Dark Red Similar Size Native Less threatening than BMSB
Euschistus Servus Brown Similar Size Native Pest in agricultural crops and residential areas

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, 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 – Immature Stink Bugs from Australia


Unidentified Bug
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
February 4, 2012 12:37 am
Living in South Australia we discovered these bugs on and around our tomato plants. Are these good or bad bugs to the tomato plants.? Many thanks John.
Signature: Johnnie

Immature Stink Bugs

Hi Johnnie,
These are immature Stink Bugs, and we believe we have correctly identified them as the Green Vegetable Bug,
Nezara viridula, and according to the Brisbane Insect website:  “The immature stages are brightly coloured with orange, red, black and green.  This is an introduced species and a wide spread pest in the warmer part of the world.” 

Letter 2 – Mating Black Stink Bugs from Hawaii


Subject: Maui Bug Love
Location: Pukalani
October 26, 2012 2:17 pm
Aloha – Have never seen this bug before. It is about the size of a lady beetle, but not as round.
These two liked to hide under the stem of the plant I was pruning, which I don’t know the name of. I had to turn the stem constantly so they were on the top side for their portrait. Also, one constantly was moving and the other was just going along with the direction choice.
Mahalo for all you do!
Signature: Eliza

Mating Black Stink Bugs

Hi Eliza,
About a year and a half ago, we first identified the Black Stink Bug,
Coptosoma xanthogramma, which is a nonnative, introduced species like so many creatures on the Hawaiian islands.  This online articleby John W. Beardsley, Jr. and Sam Fluker has some wonderful information.

Mating Black Stink Bugs

Letter 3 – Immature Stink Bugs from Australia: Commius elegans


Black and Yellow Bug
Fri, Dec 12, 2008 at 1:43 PM
These beetles or bugs were found on two different acacia species about 25km east of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. I have been unable to find any pictures on the web which remotely resemble them.
Dr David Hewitt
25 km east of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Unknown Immature Stink Bugs
possibly Immature Parent Bugs

Dear Dr Hewitt,
We believe these are immature Stink Bugs, but we are having trouble identifying the species. Many times, immature Stink Bugs or nymphs look radically different from the adults. Hopefully one of our faithful Australian readers will be able to identify the exact species.

Unknown Stink Bug Nymphs
Stink Bug Nymphs:  Commius elegans

These bugs have similar markings to Cantao parentum nymphs, although the colour (yellow) is different from the orange of the Cantao parentum.

Thanks Grev,
If you are correct, and we believe you may be correct, then these immature Parent Bugs are actually Shield Bugs in the family Scutelliridae and not Stink Bugs in the family Pentatomidae. They are called Parent Bugs because unlike most insects, the female guards the young nymphs for several weeks. The original letter indicates they were found on Acacia, and a website we linked to indicates: “its food plant, Mallotus claoxyloides (Smell of the Bush) .” This general color pattern is one that is common on several species of Stink Bugs in North America.  Another Australian Insect Website lists these food plants:  “Found on the Red Kamala (Mallotus philippensis) and other such species from the family (M. claoxyloides, M. discolor) and also Araucaria cunninghammii ” but does not mention Acacia.  This may still be an unidentified Stink Bug nymph.

Letter 4 – Immature Stink Bugs in New Zealand


Garden infestation
February 9, 2010
We have these “bugs” all over our tomatoes this year. I live in New Zealand and tomatoes are in full swing. We have a variety of different fruit trees and other veges in our garden too. This is the first bug I have ever come across I couldn’t Identify easily. Can anyone identify this and tell me how to control it if at all?
Auckland, New Zealand

Immature Stink Bug

Dear Bemused,
This is an immature Stink Bug, and may species are problematic on garden plants.  We believe this might be an immature Green Vegetable Bug, Nezara viridula, which is pictured on the Brisbane Insect Website, or perhaps the closely related New Zealand Vegetable Bug, Glaucias amyoti, which can be seen in the adult form on the Life Unseen Website.

Letter 5 – Mating Bronze Orange Bugs from Australia


beetle with orange feelers
Wed, Dec 10, 2008 at 10:47 PM
I live in Sydney, Australia and found a bunch of these beetles in my orange tree today….
any ideas about what they are? and are they pests?
Sydney, Australia

Bronze Orange Bug
Bronze Orange Bug

Dear Cheerful,
Bronze Orange Bugs, Musgraveia sulciventris, are True Bugs and not Beetles.  They are actually Stink Bugs.  You may read more about them on the Geocities Brisbane Insects website.
Since they suck the sap from young plant shoots on citrus trees, they are not an advantageous species in the garden.

Mating Bronze Orange Bugs
Mating Bronze Orange Bugs

Letter 6 – Immature Stink Bug from Malaysia: Pycanum rubeus


Wonders from Malaysian Borneo!
Location: Malaysian Borneo
August 12, 2011 9:09 pm
Hey Bug-people!
A challenge for you!
I took myself backpacking through Southeast Asia a while ago, and came back with some amazing pictures of bugs.
I’ve included three of what were to me the most fascinating and baffling varieties. Can you help me identify them?
Signature: Doug

Immature Stink Bug

Hi again Doug,
We have split up your question into separate postings.  The red insect is an immature Red Stink Bug,
Pycanum rubeus, which we identified on the National Geographic Stock Photo website.  Your third insect is a larval Firefly not unlike this North American example.  Did we meet your challenge?

Letter 7 – Immature Stink Bug


Who is my happy bug with the smiley faced back? Collected in the woodchips around my house in Orange, CA 92867

Hi Ross,
Your bug is a True Bug or Hemipteran, from the Family Pentatomidae commonly known as Stink Bugs. Immature forms are often difficult to properly identify as to species, so you will have to be content with the generalized Stink Bug identification.

Letter 8 – Immature Stink Bug


A couple of bugs for you!
After you so superbly identified a beetle larvae for me earlier this year I made the mistake of telling my mother about your site – upon which she produced an entire packet of unidentified bug pictures. If you get a chance could you have a look at the pics attached and let me know what you think? I’ve searched your site and am unable to find either of them. (I apologise about the quality of the pics but they are digital photos of her prints).
Many thanks,
James Stratton.

Hi James,
We would love to satisfy your mother’s curiosity. The green bug is an immature Stink Bug from the family Pentatomidae. It is difficult to positively identify the species in immature phases.

Letter 9 – Immature Stink Bug


I have a beetle invasion
This beetle showed up about four days ago (July17th ,2006) and there are many of them now. I think their coming out of a crack in the concrete near our door. I live in Abbotsford, BC, Canada and I’ve not seen this bug before. It is round, (about 10 mm in diameter) and is brown/black in colour. It’s shell has an orange boarder. It has three pairs of black legs and moves slowly up walls, on glass, anywhere but drops if you touch it. Some appear to have a light olive green underside. And… here’s the amassing thing; the appear to have a face like marking on their shell. There appears to be no split in the shell and therefore I don’t think it has wings. Can anyone identify this bug?

This is some species of Stink Bug. We found a match on BugGuide that Eric Eaton has identified as the genus Chlorochroa. Your specimens are immature and will eventually grow wings.

Letter 10 – Immature Stink Bug


what is it?
I found this bug in Winnipeg Manitoba Canada. Never seen anything like it can you help me? Thanks
Jesse Knudson

Hi Jesse,
This is some species of immature Stink Bug in the family Pentatomidae. Sorry, we can’t be more specific.

Letter 11 – Immature Stink Bug


UnKnown insect
Sun, Oct 12, 2008 at 10:55 AM
Hello from the San Antonio, Texas area, I came across this small insect on a rose bug and having a difficult time to ID it. Maybe you can help, Thanks from Texas
San Antonio, Texas

Stink Bug Nymph
Stink Bug Nymph

Hi Richard,
We can say for certain that this is an immature Stink Bug in the family Pentatomidae, but beyond that, we are uncertain.  It looks similar to, but not exactly like, some photos of nymphs in the genus Apateticus that are posted on BugGuide, but the markings are different.  If it is the genus Apateticus, then it is a Predatory Stink Bug.  Perhaps someone can comment with additional information.

Letter 12 – Immature Stink Bug


Subject: another odd bug
Location: seeleys bay, Ontario
July 27, 2013 2:33 pm
hi there! another odd bug I found in my garden. have never seen one of these before.
thank you!
Signature: Sean in Kingston

Stink Bug Nymph
Stink Bug Nymph

Dear Sean,
This is an immature Stink Bug, but we are not certain of the species.

Stink Bug Nymph
Stink Bug Nymph

Letter 13 – Immature Stink Bug


Subject: What’s this bug?
Location: Harare, Zimbabwe
September 21, 2015 7:20 am
Hello Bugman!
I saw this bug on new msasa leaves at the woodlands in Harare, Zimbabwe yesterday (20 Sept 15). I thought it was really pretty. Please could you tell me what it is?
Thank you!
Signature: Kazz

Immature Stink Bug
Immature Stink Bug

Dear Kazz,
This is an immature Stink Bug in the family Pentatomidae, but alas, we have not been successful determining the exact species.

Hello Daniel
Thank you so much – I suspected a stink bug thank you! If I find out exactly what it is I’ll report back 🙂

Letter 14 – Immature Stink Bug from Crete


Subject: Nymph of Cadophila varia
Location: Crete/Greece/Iraklion
September 29, 2014 8:47 pm
I found this nymph on a fennel. I think it is a pentatomid possibly belongs to Cadophila varia
Signature: Nikos Roditakis

Stink Bug Nymph
Stink Bug Nymph

Dear Nikos,
Your nymph is a Pentatomid or Stink Bug, and upon researching images of
Cadophila varia on TrekNature, we did locate an image of an adult that looks very similar.  When we attempted to locate images of the nymph, your image popped up on both TrekNature and BugGuide.  We then located an image of a nymph on Biodiversidad Virtual, but it is black, not reddish orange, but that doesn’t mean there might be color variations within the species or that different instars might have different coloration.  We cannot say conclusively that your identification is correct, but it might be correct.

Letter 15 – Immature Stink Bug from the Congo


Identify Bug
Location: Kakanda, DRC
November 5, 2011 3:11 am
Hi there,
I am working in Kakanda, DRC and I found this bug outside in our camp… I thought it was dead but it is still moving slightly. It is approximately 30 mm long and 20 mm wide.
I hope you can help me to identify it. I’m really interested to know what it is.
Signature: Lindi Richer

Immature Stink Bug

Hi Linda,
We are nearly certain that this is a Stink Bug in the family Pentatomidae, but it might be a closely related Shield Bug or other member of the superfamily Pentatomoidea.  It is an immature specimen as evidenced by the lack of wings.

Immature Stink Bug

Thanks for submitting three different angles.  This should help in the eventual species identification.

Immature Stink Bug



Letter 16 – Immature Stink Bug, probably Spined Soldier Bug


Bug Identity
Would you be able to identify this bug? I live in north Florida and took this picture April 20th. It chased my camera and watched every move I made. Thank you for your time.

Hi Jan,
We are certain that this is an immature Stink Bug, but we are not certain of its exact classification. We believe it is a predatory Stink Bug in the genus Podisus, the Spined Soldier Bugs, but we cannot find an exact match on BugGuide. There are similar looking nymphs, but nothing definite. Maybe one of our readers can supply the exact identification, allowing us more time to post backlogged submissions.

Letter 17 – Immature Two Spotted Stink Bug feeds on Caterpillar


bug sucking juices out of larva?
Hi again! I came across this bug who had caught a caterpillar on a tree in our yard here in the Ottawa, ON. area. He had his mouthpiece stuck into the side of the caterpillar’s head. I searched for bugs with piercing mouthpieces and the closest I could come to was maybe an anchor stink bug. Apparently they hunt larva and use their mouthpiece to suck the juices out of them. I don’t know what type of caterpillar it is, but the tree they’re on has a bit of a leaf-roller problem. I’ve unrolled a couple of the leaves and found a dark brown type of larva, but this is the first time I’ve seen a caterpillar like this. Couldn’t help but feel sorry for the little guy…what a way to go. Take care!
Hammond, ON

Hi again Sharon,
This is an immature Two Spotted Stink Bug, Perillus bioculatus, one of the predatory stink bugs that are very important for caterpillar control.

Letter 18 – Jewel Bugs from Singapore might be Mangrove Stink Bugs


Bugs found in the Mangrove
Location: Singapore
April 2, 2011 4:24 am
Hi bugman,
These are found feeding on the leaves of a mangrove tree. Found them while walking in the mangrove reserves. I would like to seek your help in identifying them. My gut feeling is that they are stink bugs.
Signature: Cheers, Vincent

Jewel Bugs

Hi Vincent,
In our opinion, these are Shield Bugs in the family Scutelleridae, which are very closely related to Stink Bugs in the family Pentatomidae.  Many Shield Bugs are brightly colored in metallic hues, and they are commonly called Jewel Bugs.  We posted this species once before, and we never got a conclusive species ID, so we will try harder with your request.  We found a photo identified as
Calliphara nobilis that is a perfect match, and then found a Mangrove Stink Bug page on Wild Singapore that identifies the family as Pentatomidae.  Though we like the common name Mangrove Stink Bug, we still believe the family to be Scutelleridae.  We need a real expert to solve this discrepancy.  The Tide Chaser Blog agrees with us, but you must scroll way down the page to see the image.

Letter 19 – Juniper Stink Bug


Subject: So Pretty!
Location: Nesconset
August 20, 2017 7:15 am
This beauty was found in my daughter’s hair while she was playing outside. I hope my pictures are clear enough for you to identify. I love your site and thank you so much!
Signature: Marissa

Juniper Stink Bug

Dear Marissa,
We believe we have correctly identified this Stink Bug as a Juniper Stink Bug,
Banasa euchlora, thanks to postings on BugGuide where it states:  “attracted to UV lights more often than other pentatomids in VA, sometimes in numbers.”

Letter 20 – Korean Hemipteran: Clown Stink Bug


Black & White Beetle (Korea, 2000)
Hi there WTB…
You were featured as “Bonzer Web Site of the Week” in Randy Cassingham’s “This is True” weekly newsletter last week, and I’m glad you were. Your site’s great! I’ve gone through all your beetle pages and haven’t found this one. I encountered a couple of them near the shrubbery around my apartment building in Kyonggi Province, Korea, in 2000. It’s a great looking beetle, but I haven’t been able to find out what it is. Perhaps you can help. There’s no good reference object for sizing, but I recall they were around 3/4″ long.
Gambrills, MD

Hi there Jim,
Though we are not sure what species this is, we can tell you it is not a beetle. This is a Hemipteran, a True Bug. We believe it to be in the Family Pentatomidae, the Shield Bugs or Stink Bugs.

Hi Daniel… Thanks for correcting me. Now that I know it’s a stink bug, I’ve been able to find it on the web. It’s a clown stink bug (poecilocoris lewisi) nymph. Here’s an adult. I never saw any adult clown stink bugs while in Korea, although brown colored ones were very common in the fall. Thanks!

Update and Link Correction (11/10/2006)
On your stink bugs page , there are two links to animalpicturearchive at the bottom of the “Korean Hemipteran: Clown Stink Bug” entry. One is for a clown stink bug nymph, and the other for an adult. I must say that the picture of the adult is beautiful, and clown stink bugs must have a very interesting life cycle. But the nymph on animalpicturearchive looks nothing like the one in the submitted picture. I think it might even be another species entirely. Fantastic site, either way!

Hi Jess,
Thanks for having a wonderful sense of humor about this. There is often a problem with our old postings and links because websites often vanish into the ether after several years. Occasionally websites are restructured which resulted in this problem that you have thankfully brought to our attention. The links are now corrected and the Clown Stink Bug, or kwang-dae-no-rhin-jae as it is known in Korea, will be readily identifiable once again.

Letter 21 – Large Stink Bug


Fancy bug?
Location: Koonyum Ranges NSW
February 24, 2011 7:13 am
This one comes from the hills behind Byron Bay, exotic looking but could not find it amongst all the beatles?
Signature: Bernoe

Large Stink Bug

Dear Bernoe,
We believe that this is a Large Stink Bug in the family Tessaratomidae.  The Brisbane Insect website has some photos of the adult Bronze Orange Bug,
Musgraveia sulciventris, that looks similar, but is darker.  Also, the body shape is a bit different.  We believe that your individual is in the same family.  The NSW Department of Primary Industries has a nice illustration of the life cycle of the Bronze Orange Bug.

Correction Courtesy of Karl
Hi Daniel and Bernoe:
It is indeed a Tessaratomid, probably a male Peltocopta crassiventris. The females are similar but not as colorful, and exhibit an interesting form of parental care. The Queensland Museum website has photos of both sexes as well as nymphs (click on the Introduction, Identification and Biology tabs). Regards. Karl

Thanks Karl,
There are also some images of a female and her brood on the Heteroptera website.

Letter 22 – mating French Stink Bugs


Mating bugs
I live in the Var (Provence), South East France. Have spent ages trying to identify these bugs – I thought it would be easy – so I’m sending you the photos. I call the second one “Love on a carrot” (wild carrot as you no doubt can identify. Would love to hear back.
Gabrielle Wellesley

Hi Gabrielle,
These are mating Stink Bugs, Graphosoma lineatum.

Letter 23 – Mating Harlequin Stink Bugs


Subject: Bug
Location: Miami, Florida
September 14, 2013 9:37 am
I sent a email before about a bug on my brocolli plant and the picture was not attached. I wanted to know ifvitbis a beneficial bug or not and the name.  I found this under the leaf of my broccoli plant and I wonder if it is a beneficial bug or was it eating my plant? What is its name? I live in miami Florida and this was taken in May 2013
Signature: Niece

Mating Harlequin Stink Bugs
Mating Harlequin Stink Bugs

Dear Niece,
These mating Harlequin Stink Bugs are considered to be pests on plants in the cabbage family, including broccoli.

Letter 24 – Mating Harlequin Stink Bugs


Subject: What are these bugs
Location: Tallahassee Fl
December 22, 2013 8:17 am
Can you identify these bugs ?
Signature: Tom

Mating Harlequin Stink Bugs
Mating Harlequin Stink Bugs

Hi Tom,
Yes we can.  These are mating Harlequin Stink Bugs and they are considered plant pests on broccoli, kale and other plants in the cabbage family.  Don’t look for chewed leaves as evidence of damage, however, as these are True Bugs with mouths designed to pierce and suck fluids.  They feed on the nutritious fluids in the plant leaves and often damage isn’t noticed until the health of the plant is severely compromised.

Letter 25 – Mating Rough Stink Bugs


Subject:  Mating Stink Bugs
Geographic location of the bug:  Jacksonville, Florida
Date: 09/22/2018
Time: 09:50 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I saw these flat, mating bugs that look like some sort of stink bug.  The picture was taken 9/22/2018 around 12:30 PM.
How you want your letter signed:  EK Gilley

Mating Rough Stink Bugs

Dear EK Gilley,
These are indeed mating Stink Bugs.  More specifically, they are mating Tree Stink Bugs or Rough Stink Bugs in the genus
Brochymena.  According to BugGuide:  “Usually bark-like (cryptic). Lateral teeth on juga. Head elongated, pronotum laterally with toothlike projections, and rear margin of abdomen has pleated pattern.”  We haven’t posted a new image representing this genus in over a decade and we have learned quite a bit since then.  We used to write that they are a predatory species (a claim we never source cited) but we have come to realize this is not always the case, and as BugGuide indicates, they are:  “phytophagous (some reports of predation).” 

Letter 26 – Mating Rough Stink Bugs enamor child


Subject:  Please ID!
Geographic location of the bug:  NE Florida
Date: 08/13/2021
Time: 06:14 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Please help us ID this bug! My 5 y/o is enamored.
How you want your letter signed:  Sarah C

Mating Rough Stink Bugs

Dear Sarah,
This is not a bug.  It is two bugs that are enamored with one another.  These are mating Rough Stink Bugs in the genus
Brochymena based on this BugGuide image. and according to BugGuide:  “recorded hosts include members of 18 plant families.”  If your five-year old is enamored, perhaps this is a good time to begin that conversation about the birds and the bees and the stink bugs.

Letter 27 – Mating Stink Bugs


Please help identify green bug
Location: Sierra Nevada foothills, ca 2500’ elevation
November 1, 2010 7:31 am
Observed these mating on a thistle, late June, 2010. I believe his neighbor is a yellow-faced bumble bee.
Signature: Captain Telemark

Mating Stink Bugs

Dear Captain Telemark,
Other than being able to identify this amorous pair as mating Stink Bugs, we cannot provide a species identification because the lateral view is not ideal for identification purposes, and there are numerous green Stink Bugs in the family Pentatomidae.

Letter 28 – Mating Stink Bugs


Subject:  Blue beetle?
Geographic location of the bug:  Homestead , FL
Date: 09/10/2018
Time: 07:40 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found about 15-20 of  these pairing up in the hedges near the Dante Fascell visitor center of biscayne National Park. Can you give me an ID?
How you want your letter signed:  Lisa

Stink Bug

Dear Lisa,
These are not Beetles.  They are Stink Bugs and we identified them as
Murgantia violascens thanks to BugGuide where it states the range is:  “FL / W. Indies, BG records are from Key West.”  The species is also pictured on iNaturalist.

Stink Bug

Letter 29 – Mating Man-Faced Stink Bugs from (probably) Singapore


Beautiful yet a nuisance
Hi Bug man
Please view the attached picture of a very beautiful bug that I spotted yesterday in my friend’s garden. There are not 2, 4 or 6 but a few hundreds of them. They cut circular holes in the leaves. Please identify them & give prescribe a safe control measure for the same. Thanks in anticipation. Regards

Hi Azmi,
Though you did not provide us with a location, your email address tends to indicate Singapore. These are mating Stink Bugs in the family Pentatomidae, though we are not certain of the species. They are NOT responsible for the circular holes. Stink Bugs do not chew plants, they suck the juices.

Update:  February 2, 2013
We just received a comment identifying this Stink Bug as
Catacanthus incarnatus and Encyclopedia of Life substantiates that identification.

Letter 30 – Insect Collection from Car Grills


Non-unnecessary carnage
May 20, 2010
When I was a child I decided I wanted a bug collection. There was one in my elementary school class. After getting instructions from the teacher on how to trap bugs in a jar and put various chemicals on cotton balls to dispatch them before pinning them to cardboard I walked away confused and sad. Then one day I was walking through a parking lot with my father and I noticed the huge amount of dead bugs on the radiators of cars (I grew up in Florida.). For the entire next year my father dutifully stood by explaining what I was doing to car owners as I plucked the least broken specimens off the radiators to later place on my board. At the end of the year I had more bugs than any other student, even many no one had seen (Northern visitors!) Now I am grown and photograph w ild edible plants and mushrooms. To prove my lack of unnecessary carnage I am attaching some of my photos. The woolly bear visited while we were digging Jerusalem Artichoke tubers and was released. PS. The stink bug in the upper right of the beautiful spring greens salad was released outside before we ate the salad.
Your friend, Nancy
Mexico, New York of all places

Stink Bug

Hi Nancy,
We love your letter.  We are going to try to search our own massive archives to find one of the most beautiful photos we have ever posted of the grill of an automobile encrusted with insects. The posting is called Car Grill Road Kill.

Hahahahaha! That is so funny as sad as it is. Try Florida radiators in June. I live in upstate NY now. I will take a walk around a few parking lots in the next couple of days and shoot some radiators and see what I can find. The folks that live here in the summer but flee to Florida in the winter are returning now, maybe I can find a good shot of unnecessary carnage of biblical proportions to send to you. I think these radiator dead soldiers should not have died in vain and schools should use them for projects rather than the usual search and destroy missions they use now.
By the way, I love your site and I send it to scientists, students and friends all the time. I am an Information Technology Manager for an Environmental Non-profit group and a long standing member of The Central New York Mycological Society. We spend a lot of time outside studying many things with students and your site is my “GoTo” site when the students find bugs. But they go to your site with macro photos, not actual bugs.
Thank you from us all.

Hi Nancy,
I horrified many of my coworkers by picking and eating Morels from the newly landscaped portions of the Los Angeles City College campus this past April.  All the mulch and the late rains caused the tasty mushrooms to proliferate.

Hi Daniel,
You lucky mycophogist you. I hate to say I winced a bit at the location that you found the morels. Please keep in mind that all fungi excel at absorbing and retaining heavy metals and other chemicals. They are so good at it that they are a subject of much research to see if they can be used to clean land and soil contaminated by people and industry. The most pristine land you can find the better. Areas that can have heavy metals, herbicides, petroleum products, etc. should be avoided. A good site to do a little reading is Paul Stamets is the best person that I know that is involved in mycoremediation. Great stuff.
I saw on your site that you did a lecture today at a local college and you wondered if you should dare stray into the subject of edible insects just before lunch. I’m sorry, but I have to admit, I have dared. The local high school asked me to do a program about wild edible plants and mushrooms for their ROTC students. So considering that the instructor was asking me to cover survival conditions when it came to foraging, I dared. I ordered chocolate covered crickets from Fluker Farms and out of 200 students only one would not eat the cricket. I dare say out of 200 adults I bet I could only get about 25 people to eat the cricket.
I am sorry for the crickets, but if someday a student comes back to me and says eating plants, mushrooms, earth worms and crickets kept them alive while lost in the wilderness……….oh, who am I kidding? I did what the instructor asked me to do. It was funny though when my own daughter who was in ROTC ate the cricket and got a leg caught in her braces the whole class rolled on the floor laughing and are still talking about the incident.
I can’t tell you how much I love your site and your work. Thank you on behalf of many. I will keep promoting your site as long as it is available. I am always saddened how many seemingly intelligent adults and children go “Oh, a bug! squish!” Keep up the wonderful work. I would love to one day see one of your lectures.

Hi again Nancy,
Your kind of letter makes us appreciate the power of sharing information on the internet.  Also, those clover leafs look so tasty in your salad.  We never think of eating clover and there is quite a bit in our own front yard.

Letter 31 – Mating Pentatomids in Taiwan


Hi Bugman,
We get these Brochymena in Taiwan, and by the looks of it there will be a few more soon! The local parks are overrun with them. Are they a worldwide pest? It seems some recent photos from Germany were of the same species.
Great site!

Hi Tole,
We aren’t sure of your species and are reluctant to comment, other than to say your photo of Mating Pentatomids is a wonderful addition to our Bug Love pages.

Letter 32 – Litchi Stink Bug from India


Unidentified Bug
Location: Western Ghats, South India, India
August 2, 2011 12:42 am
Hi, my name is Gaurav and i am from Goa, India. I found this bug at various forest places in the Western ghats region. its about 3cm long. usually seen in rain forest areas.
Signature: Gaurav Shirodkar

Litchi Stink Bug

Dear Guarav,
This is either a Stink Bug in the family Pentatomidae, or a Shield Bug in the family Scutellaridae.  We sometimes have trouble distinguishing them apart, especially with tropical species.  We will try to get an exact species identification for you.

Litchi Stink Bug

Update:  January 20, 2017
Thanks to a comment from lustin, we are thrilled to update this posting with the identification of Tessaratoma papillosa in the Large Stink Bug family Tessaratomidae, and matching images of the Litchi Stink Bug on The Invasive Species Compendium.


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Tags: Stink Bugs

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21 Comments. Leave new

  • These bugs have similar markings to Cantao parentum nymphs, although the colour (yellow) is different from the orange of the Cantao parentum.

  • These are Yellow-spotted stink bugs,
    Erthesina fullo (Thunberg).

    According to this paper ( this bug is a major pest of pine trees and hardwood tree in Taiwan (Kou et al., 1989). The odor from the male metathoracic scent gland elicits an alarm response, making the male individuals of the same species alert and dispersive. The alarm response of males is more obvious than that of the females.

  • Looks to me like it might be a nymph in Apoecilus.

    February 2, 2013 6:09 am

    Catacanthus incarnatus I believe.

  • Catacanthus incarnatus (Man-Faced Stinkbug) is quite common in Singapore. This photo shows 2 specimens stored at the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity’s zoological collection. They were collected from Kent Ridge Park (southwestern S’pore) in May 1992.

    @ Azmi: “They cut circular holes in the leaves. Please identify them & give prescribe a safe control measure for the same.”

    Catacanthus incarnatus does not chew circular holes in leaves. This stinkbug feeds on plant sap, nectar & flower/ fruit buds.

    On the other hand, bagworm (moth) larvae are known to create round holes in foliage. In Singapore, one of the most commonly-encountered bagworm species is Pagodiella hekmeyeri (Pagoda Bagworm), which typically makes circular shotgun-like holes in foliage.

    Are there bag-like cases (with overlapping brown leafy “scales”) hanging from the underside of your plant’s leaves ? These bag-cases are the mobile hiding spots of the juvenile larvae. They chew on the leaf epidermis, & excise a circular wound from which they extract a piece of the leaf to further build up their bag-cases.

    In S’pore, the Pagoda Bagworm likes feeding on woody plants like Syzygium spp. (syn. Eugenia spp.) [eg. Syzygium aqueum (Jambu Ayer, Water Apple)], Ardisia elliptica (Mata Pelandok, Seashore Ardisia), Corymbia ptychocarpa (syn. Eucalyptus ptychocarpa, Swamp Bloodwood), as well as some mangrove flora species.

    The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of S’pore (AVA) recommends that badly-infested branches be pruned off. If the bagworm larvae (& bag-cases) are still small, they may be controlled with insecticides like cypermethrin, dimethoate & avermectin.

    More info & photos:
    * The Pagoda Bagworm (Urban Forest SG – 10 Jan 2007)
    * Photo of bagworm case in Thailand (pbase – 12 Mar 2011)
    * Pest News (pg 2) (AVA S’pore – Nov 2009)

  • Catacanthus incarnatus (Man-Faced Stinkbug) is quite common in Singapore. This photo shows 2 specimens stored at the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity’s zoological collection. They were collected from Kent Ridge Park (southwestern S’pore) in May 1992.

    @ Azmi: “They cut circular holes in the leaves. Please identify them & give prescribe a safe control measure for the same.”

    Catacanthus incarnatus does not chew circular holes in leaves. This stinkbug feeds on plant sap, nectar & flower/ fruit buds.

    On the other hand, bagworm (moth) larvae are known to create round holes in foliage. In Singapore, one of the most commonly-encountered bagworm species is Pagodiella hekmeyeri (Pagoda Bagworm), which typically makes circular shotgun-like holes in foliage.

    Are there bag-like cases (with overlapping brown leafy “scales”) hanging from the underside of your plant’s leaves ? These bag-cases are the mobile hiding spots of the juvenile larvae. They chew on the leaf epidermis, & excise a circular wound from which they extract a piece of the leaf to further build up their bag-cases.

    In S’pore, the Pagoda Bagworm likes feeding on woody plants like Syzygium spp. (syn. Eugenia spp.) [eg. Syzygium aqueum (Jambu Ayer, Water Apple)], Ardisia elliptica (Mata Pelandok, Seashore Ardisia), Corymbia ptychocarpa (syn. Eucalyptus ptychocarpa, Swamp Bloodwood), as well as some mangrove flora species.

    The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of S’pore (AVA) recommends that badly-infested branches be pruned off. If the bagworm larvae (& bag-cases) are still small, they may be controlled with insecticides like cypermethrin, dimethoate & avermectin.

    More info & photos:
    * The Pagoda Bagworm (Urban Forest SG – 10 Jan 2007)
    * Photo of bagworm case in Thailand (pbase – 12 Mar 2011)
    * Pest News (pg 2) (AVA S’pore – Nov 2009)

  • Reply
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  • After several checks again, I think this one is very similar to Scutiphora pedicellata, but if you look very carefully you can see nevertheless, that there are differences in the markings. On Project Noah we had a lot of discussions and I think we got it now correct: This is Communis elegans, Scutelleridae.
    Scutiphora pedicellata again for closer comparison.
    Shape of the wings and pronotum is slightly different. The black marking at the back are much narrower, which is not due to different instars but different genus/species.

  • I found these nymphs together with their adult Commius elegans on Cherry Ballart . They are pentatomidae.
    The nymph of Scutiphora pedicellata nymph has a wider first green bar in the abdomen and is rounder. The first wider bar in the abdominal patch seems to be consistent with other species in scutelleridae.

    The images at show one nymph (second image) which I believe is actually Commius elegans .

  • Thanks, Martin for the information and I apolgize my unprecise namings in my comment. It actually is a Pentatomidae, Pentatominae, Diemeniini, Commius elegans. Not Scutelleridae and not Communis elegans. Sorry. But now I think we have it correct.

  • Look like Tessaratoma. Maybe Tessaratoma papillosa.

  • I caught one too!

  • more than 10 years after this post, I am discovering this exact insect and habit in my soybeans. i thought they’d be beneficial but, sounds like they might not be.


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