What Eats Stink Bugs: Discover Their Natural Predators

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Stink bugs may be a nuisance to many due to their unpleasant odor, but they play a vital role in the ecosystem as a food source for various predators. In this article, we will explore the diverse range of creatures that feed on stink bugs and the ways in which they help control stink bug populations.

You might be surprised to learn that a number of birds, insects, and even spiders consider stink bugs a tasty snack. From the sneaky attacks of assassin bugs to the brutish pecks of a blue jay, these predators are more than happy to feast on these odorous insects. Let’s take a closer look at some standout examples of stink bug predators and how they manage to subdue their smelly prey.

Understanding Stink Bugs

Stink bugs are a type of insect known for their distinct odor, which they release as a defense mechanism against predators. These bugs come in various species and colors, with the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) and the green stink bug being quite common.

The brown marmorated stink bug is shield-shaped and measures between 14 and 17 mm long, roughly the size of a U.S. dime. Its abdomen and antennal segments feature alternating broad light and dark bands. Adult females lay clusters of 20-30 light green or yellow, elliptical-shaped eggs between May and August.

On the other hand, the green stink bug belongs to the Pentatomidae family. It is a major pest in cotton, rice, and soybean fields and releases an offensive odor when handled, just like its brown counterpart.

Generally, stink bugs have some shared characteristics:

  • Shield-shaped body
  • Unpleasant odor when disturbed
  • Variety of species and colors

While some species of stink bugs are harmful to crops, others can be beneficial to gardeners. For example, predatory stink bugs feed on over 100 species of insect pests, helping to control their populations.

Comparing the two most common stink bug species:

Feature Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Green Stink Bug
Color Brown with light and dark bands Green
Size 14-17 mm Varies, often larger
Crop Impact Damaging to crops Damaging to crops
Habitat Various, including residential areas Mainly agricultural fields

Remember, understanding the differences between stink bug species is essential because some pose risks to your garden or crops, while others prove helpful in pest control.

Feeding Behavior of Stink Bugs

Stink bugs are known for their diverse diet, as they feed on various parts of plants, including the fruit, leaves, and stems. Here’s a brief overview of stink bug feeding habits, centering on their preferred plants and fruits.

When feasting on plants, you might find stink bugs targeting:

  • Corn
  • Beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Sunflower

For fruit lovers, stink bugs are known to feed on:

  • Apples
  • Berries
  • Peaches
  • Pears

Their feeding method involves piercing the plant or fruit with their straw-like mouthparts, followed by consuming the sap or juices. This causes damage to the plant or fruit, leaving scars, marks, or even creating openings for other pests and microbes.

Stink bugs lay their eggs on the plant leaves and their nymphs will feed on the same plants as they develop.

Here’s a comparison table to help you further understand their feeding preferences:

Plant/Fruit Stink Bugs Feed On

In summary, stink bugs are not picky eaters and their diet mainly consists of plant leaves and various fruits. They cause damage to plants and fruits, affecting their appearance, and allowing other pests or pathogens to enter.

Habitat and Hibernation

In the fall, stink bugs search for warm places to spend winter. They often find their way into your home, seeking the warmth and protection it offers. If you’re wondering where these pests venture during spring, they’re likely to be found in gardens around the United States and beyond.

When hibernating, stink bugs typically seek refuge in tight spaces such as cracks and crevices in walls, window frames, and beneath sidings. A popular spot for them is near cedar trees, allowing them to stay sheltered during the colder months. In your home, they might hide in attics, crawl spaces, and even between walls.

In spring, as temperatures rise and warmth returns, stink bugs exit their hiding spots and become more active. You’ll likely encounter them in your garden, feasting on various plants and fruits. To keep these pests at bay, follow these simple guidelines:

  • Inspect your home in fall for gaps and cracks where stink bugs could enter.
  • Seal any openings you find with caulk or draft stoppers.
  • Keep cedar trees well-trimmed and away from your home’s structure.
  • Maintain a clean and well-tended garden to reduce potential hiding spots.

By understanding the habitats and hibernation patterns of stink bugs, you can make well-informed decisions on how to best protect your home and garden from these persistent pests.

Signs of Stink Bug Infestation

Stink bugs can cause significant damage to your crops and become a nuisance in your home. Knowing the signs of their infestation is crucial in order to protect your plants and maintain a comfortable living space.

Damaged Crops

  • Stink bugs mainly feed on fruits and vegetables, causing irregular scarring on their surface.
  • Their feeding leaves behind a distinctive scar that resembles a series of concentric circles, known as the “cat-facing” injury.

Infestation in Orchards

  • You might notice these pests clinging to the bark of trees in your orchard.
  • They can cause extensive damage to fruit crops like apples and peaches.

Home Invasion

  • As temperatures drop, stink bugs tend to seek shelter in homes.
  • Watch out for these insects gathering around windows, doors, or cracks in your house.


  • The smell of stink bugs can be an indicator of their presence.
  • If you notice a strong, unpleasant odor in your home or garden, it could be a sign of an infestation.

To prevent further damage, it’s important to act fast if you suspect a stink bug infestation. Investigate the affected areas and consider seeking professional help if necessary. Remember to remain vigilant for these insects, especially during the growing season, to keep your crops and home stink bug-free.

Common Stink Bug Predators

In your garden, stink bugs can be quite a nuisance. Luckily, there are several natural stink bug predators to keep their population in check. Some of the common predators include:

  • Ants: These tiny insects may be small, but they don’t shy away from tackling a stink bug. They can often be seen dragging stink bugs back to their colony.
  • Birds: Many bird species, such as bluebirds and woodpeckers, enjoy feeding on stink bugs.
  • Spiders: These eight-legged creatures are known to weave their webs and trap stink bugs, consuming them for a meal.

In addition to these common predators, there are other specialized insects that feed on stink bugs as well:

  • Predatory stink bugs: Unlike the bothersome brown marmorated stink bugs, these species of stink bugs are a gardener’s friend. They feed on over 100 species of pest insects, including their pest-relatives.
  • Wasps: Some wasps, particularly parasitoid wasps, lay their eggs on stink bug eggs or nymphs. When the eggs hatch, the wasp larvae consume the stink bug, eventually killing it.

In summary, nature has provided various stink bug predators that help to control their population. Encouraging the presence of these predators in your garden can be an excellent way to keep stink bugs at bay. Remember, though, not all predators are suitable for all environments. Make sure to consider which predators will best work with your garden’s ecosystem to maintain a healthy balance.

Problems Caused by Stink Bugs

Stink bugs can be quite a nuisance, especially for gardeners and farmers. These bugs are known to feed on a variety of plants, including berries, sweet corn, and soybeans. They use their piercing-sucking mouthparts to extract sap, causing distortion and decreased fruit quality.

The smell emitted by stink bugs can be unpleasant and pervasive. When threatened, they release a foul-smelling chemical which can linger on surfaces.

By feeding on plants, stink bugs can cause significant harm:

  • They leave scars on fruits and vegetables, reducing their market value.
  • In large numbers, stink bugs can lead to substantial crop damage.

To prevent and control stink bug infestations, it’s essential to know your options. Some people may choose to hire an exterminator, while others might try DIY methods. Here are some pros and cons to consider:

Method Pros Cons
Exterminator Professional, often more effective Can be expensive, use of chemicals
DIY methods Cost-effective, eco-friendly alternatives Less effective, time-consuming

As a gardener or farmer, managing stink bug problems is crucial to protect your plants. By exploring the right extermination methods, you can find what works best for your specific situation and ensure healthy, bountiful crops.

Stink Bug Management Techniques

To get rid of stink bugs, it is essential to focus on prevention and exclusion. Begin by sealing windows, doors, and any cracks or gaps around your home. Pay special attention to the eaves, making sure to seal any openings you find. Replace or repair damaged screens on windows and doors, and use caulk to seal gaps around them.

There are several methods available to manage stink bugs, such as:

  • Vacuuming up the stink bugs
  • Startling and collecting them

However, these methods might not be enough, and you may need additional means to control stink bugs. Among them are traps and pesticides. Traps are a simple and chemical-free option, while pesticides should be used carefully and as a last resort.

Here’s a comparison table of the pros and cons of traps and pesticides:

Method Pros Cons
Traps Chemical-free, easy to set up May not catch all stink bugs
Pesticides Effective in controlling large infestations Can be harmful to other organisms, may require professional assistance

In conclusion, adopting a proactive approach to stink bug management by sealing entry points and using traps or pesticides when necessary will help you keep your home stink bug-free. Remember to always follow the instructions and safety precautions provided by the product manufacturers when using traps or pesticides.

Natural Stink Bug Remedies

Stink bugs can be a nuisance, but there are natural remedies you can use to deter them. One effective way is by using garlic in your garden. Garlic can act as a repellent, so planting it near your plants can help keep stink bugs away.

Another remedy you can try is using soapy water. Simply mix water with a few drops of dish soap in a spray bottle and spray this mixture on stink bugs you see in your garden. This solution can help deter them and even kill them without harming your plants.

A more potent option is to use garlic spray. To create this, you can blend garlic cloves with water and strain the mixture to make a spray. Spraying this mixture on your plants can help repel stink bugs.

Diatomaceous earth is another useful remedy. It’s a natural powder that can be sprinkled around your plants to create a barrier against stink bugs.

Some other natural remedies include:

  • Mint: Planting mint around your garden can act as a repellent, as stink bugs dislike its scent.
  • Essential oils: Oils like lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus can be mixed with water and sprayed on plants to help repel stink bugs.
  • Neem oil: This oil can be mixed with water and sprayed as a natural insecticide for stink bugs. Be cautious, as it can also harm beneficial insects.

Lastly, you can use kaolin clay as a barrier against stink bugs. This natural clay can be mixed with water and sprayed on your plants, creating a protective layer that stink bugs find hard to penetrate.

When using these remedies, always remember to:

  • Keep your garden clean and free of fallen fruits and plant debris.
  • Use minimal amounts of these remedies to avoid harming your plants.
  • Observe the effectiveness of each remedy and adjust your usage accordingly.

Stink Bug Prevention Methods

To keep stink bugs away from your home, it’s essential to close off their entry points. Check for gaps around pipes and crevices in walls and foundations. Seal them with caulk or other appropriate materials. For instance, cover gaps around utility pipes and use mesh screens on chimneys to block stink bug access.

Ensure that your home’s siding is secure and well-maintained. Stink bugs can sneak through damaged areas or loose siding, so regular inspections and repairs are necessary. Here’s a quick list of tips for a stink bug-free home:

  • Seal gaps and crevices
  • Inspect and repair siding
  • Cover utility pipes and chimneys

In case stink bugs have already found their way indoors, using a vacuum cleaner can be an effective method to remove them. Be sure to empty your vacuum bag outside, away from your home, to prevent the bugs from re-entering.

To discourage stink bugs from congregating near your home, avoid using bright outdoor lighting that may attract them. Instead, use dim or yellow night light bulbs, which are less appealing to these insects.

In summary, proper home maintenance, sealing entry points, and using appropriate lighting can help prevent stink bug infestations. Remember to act quickly if you spot any; a vacuum cleaner can be your best friend in this situation.

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Reader Emails

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

Letter 1 – Stink Bugs hatch in India


Subject: Little green bugs protecting their eggs
Location: Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India
September 7, 2013 1:50 pm
Dear Bugexperts, I spotted these delightful little greens chaps surrounding what appear to be their young. They were about three feet up the outside wall of our hotel in India. I assumed they’d stay in their protective ring until the young hatched but one morning we awoke to find they’d all wandered off. I would love to know what these creatures are called so I might read more about them.
Many thanks,
Signature: Tim

Newly Hatched Stink Bugs
Newly Hatched Stink Bugs

Dear Tim,
These are not insects guarding eggs.  They are newly hatched Stink Bugs that emerged from the eggs and they vanished because they eventually dispersed.  Though it is a different species, we have a similar photo of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug hatchlings in our archive.

Letter 2 – Tomato Stink Bug Nymph


Subject: Yellow bugs congregating on tomato
Location: Sarasota Florida
July 4, 2014 12:31 pm
I was weeding some plants on my patio & found 15 or more of these yellow bugs congregating on a green tomato. I didn’t see any others on the plant or my other potted veggies. I live in Sarasota Florida so we have where to grow veggies in pots. I’ve tried id’ing the bug but nothing comes close. I’ve not seen this type before. It measured about 1/4 long.
Signature: Garden girl 52

Tomato Stink Bug Nymph
Tomato Stink Bug Nymph

Hi Garden girl 52,
This is an immature Stink Bug, and we quickly identified in on BugGuide as a Tomato Stink Bug,
Arvelius albopunctatus, a species previously unknown to us, which is surprising as we often get requests to identify pests on tomato plants.  Keep an eye out for reproductive adults, which are also pictured on BugGuide, and you will likely reduce the effects of an unwanted epidemic of Tomato Stink Bugs in your garden.

Letter 3 – Striped Bug from Montenegro


Subject:  Red and black striped stink bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Montenegro
Date: 07/26/2019
Time: 07:04 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Thought you might like to know we found this guy in Montenegro Kotor Bay
How you want your letter signed:  Frangipanimoonflower

Striped Bug

Dear Frangipanimoonflower,
According to iNaturalist, this boldly colored and marked Stink Bug,
Graphosoma lineatum, is commonly called a Striped Bug or Minstrel Bug.  The site states:  “The orange and black warning colours (aposematism) indicate that the insects are foul-tasting, protecting them from predators. The nymphs do not have the orange-black stripe pattern, instead they are mostly brownish.”

Ed. Note:  We thought we needed to do additional research on the name Minstrel Bug, and we have decided upon further reflection to change the name of both the subject line of this posting and the caption on the image to Striped Bug.  A minstrel is, according to Merriam-Webster:  “one of a class of medieval musical entertainers especially : a singer of verses to the accompaniment of a harp wandering minstrels,”  but a more recent meaning entered the language with this definition:  “a member of a type of performance troupe caricaturing black performers that originated in the U.S. in the early 19th century.  NOTE: The acts of minstrels, who typically performed in blackface, featured exaggerated and inaccurate representations of black people in songs, dances, and comic dialogue. The popularity of minstrel shows in their heyday played a significant role in promoting negative racial stereotypes. Professional minstrel shows had fallen out of favor and effectively disappeared by the mid-20th century.”  What really interested us was how the black and red stripes of the Striped Bug related to minstrel costumes, and our initial searching located this image with a fascinating reversal of a racially insensitive representation of the other on the National Carnival Commission of Trinidad and Tobago where this statement is posted:  “Minstrel of old sang plantation songs and other American songs like ‘Swanee River’ and dressed in a variety of costumes e.g. Uncle Sam tailcoat, pinstripe trousers, white gloves and felt top hat.”  To add further confusion to the common name Minstrel Bug, this insect is European, and we can’t imagine how a decidedly American negative stereotype came to be used for the name of a European insect.

Letter 4 – Stink Bug nymph from Brazil


Subject: Gem on legs
Location: Teresopolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
March 2, 2014 9:19 am
We spent about half an hour chasing this beauty with our camera, randomly shooting and battling the autofocus sabotage system.
It was parading on the main paved road of the Serra dos Orgaos National Park, Teresopolis.
The colours remind me of a pest beetle from my youth, an American import which was harmfull to our European crops during the 80’s.
But the form and texture of its shield are more complex.
Signature: LickaFoot

Stink Bug Nymph
Stink Bug Nymph

Dear LickaFoot,
This is an immature Stink Bug nymph in the family Pentatomidae, or possibly a nymph of a Shield Bug in a closely related family Scutelleridae.  We are posting the image and we hope to be able to provide you with a species identification soon.  Shield Bugs are sometimes called Jewel Bugs because of their bright metallic coloration.

Letter 5 – Stink Bug Nymph from England


Subject: Bug I.D
Location: London , England
August 19, 2017 11:15 pm
I found this little creature resting in a leaf, in my back garden . Can you tell me what it’s called ?
Signature: Arobe

Stink Bug Nymph

Dear Arobe,
This is an immature Stink Bug in the family Pentatomidae.  Based on images posted to British Bugs, we are confident it is
Nezara viridula British Bugs states:  “Native to Africa, but frequently imported to the UK in food produce, it is widespread in southern Europe and has been recorded annually from sites in southern England since 2003 on various foodplants including tomato, beans, golden-rod, Lavatera, Viburnum and hemp agrimony. Manyrecords are from all.”

Letter 6 – Stink Bug Nymph from Israel


Subject: Art bug?
Location: Jordan Valley, Israel
March 29, 2015 12:30 am
Hi Bugman,
I found this beauty on the front fender of an ATV while ona jeep trip in the Jordan Valley yesterday.
I took a picture and then let him go (a safe distance from the ATV).
I didn’t find anything on my morning research session, but I’ll keep trying. My main source of Israel Insect information is the Israel Insect World website http://israel-nature-site.com, but there are no photos of bug nymphs on it.
Any ideas?
Signature: Ben from Israel

Stink Bug Nymph
Stink Bug Nymph

Hi Ben,
This is an immature Stink Bug in the family Pentatomidae, and based on its size, it is a very early instar.  It is possible that its markings and coloration may change during each of its five instar phases, and it is also possible that there is great variation within a species.  With all that said, we were unable to locate a species match during a quick internet search.

Letter 7 – Stink Bug Nymph in Australia


Yellow and Black Beetle
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
February 8, 2012 5:26 am
I found this beetle on my lemon tree.
Signature: Jessica

Stink Bug Nymph

Dear Jessica,
This is not a Beetle.  It is an immature Stink Bug, possibly the Green Vegetable Bug,
Nezara viridula, an introduced species with highly variable nymphs in many colors.  The Brisbane Insect website describes them thus: “The immature stages are brightly coloured with orange, red, black and green. “

Letter 8 – Stink Bug Nymphs


Subject: Unknown Insect
Location: Laurel MD
August 21, 2017 4:36 pm
This appears to me to be a juvenile insect. Maybe Japanese Beetle but I cannot find pictures to support my hunch. I found several on my avocado three this evening.
Signature: Bob

Stink Bug Nymphs

Dear Bob,
Immature Japanese Beetles are grubs that live underground and that look nothing like the mature Japanese Beetles.  These are immature Stink Bugs.

Letter 9 – Stink Bug Nymphs “Everywhere”!!!


Subject: Gross bugs
Location: Belen,NM,USA
May 4, 2014 2:50 pm
These bugs are everywhere and I have no idea what they are? Please help us.
Signature: Alyssa

Stink Bug Nymphs
Stink Bug Nymphs

Hi Alyssa,
Based on this image we found on BugGuide, your Stink Bug nymphs are in the genus

Stink Bug Nymph
Stink Bug Nymph

Letter 10 – Stink Bug Survives Microwave


Stink bug survives microwave
November 6, 2010 3:27 pm
During a cool spell in Sept. I made some hot chocolate in the microwave. After one minute on high I removed the mug to give it a stir. I was surprised to see a stink but walking around under the glass tray! He had been in there for a full minute with no ill effects! Had not even made it stinky in there. I removed the tray and he crawled onto the ring, which I picked up and carried outside. I wonder if he’ll grow 10-foot tall with two heads and come back??
Signature: Pam

Hi Pam,
We hope that your letter does not inspire a spate of science projects.

Letter 11 – Stink Bugs


I found your web page while looking up information on stink bugs. I moved into a 14 year old house last November. In the spring I washed the windows and sills. (Crank out windows) When I opened the windows, lots of dried grass was in between the window and the frame. I opened a window this week (had not been open for 2 to 3
weeks) and lots of grass dropped from above. I looked up and there was a brown stink bug. Are they nesting in between the windows? How can I discourage this? Thanks for your assistance.
Kathleen Lemke

Dear Kathleen,
Although stinkbugs can get into the house and occasionally become pests, they will not make nests of any form when they are there. They grass came from some other source, maybe mice or just the wind.

Letter 12 – Stink Bugs


I live in Overland Park, KS and came across this critter in the living room, of all places! I assume that the oncoming cold of winter is driving many bugs to seek food and warmth inside. This guy seemed harmless enough. I released him back outside in the garden.
Can you tell me what this bug is?
John Derry
Overland Park, KS

Dear John,
You just released a species of Stink Bug into your yard. They are true bugs, and as such, have sucking mouth parts which they use to extract the life giving juices from plants. Because of this habit of feeding, they are considered injurious and are garden pests, consuming a wide variety of edible and ornamental cultivated plants. They are sometimes attracted to lights, which could explain its presence in your home. The Stink Bugs (Family Pentatomidae) secrete a noxious odor from glands on the thorax, hence their common name.

Thanks for the informative reply…now I gotta go get a flashlight and git that sucker!

Letter 13 – Stink Bugs


I am needing a little guidance from you. In the last 2 nights, I have discovered 2 large shiny green bugs in my bed! They were about 3/4 of an inch long and about 1/2 inch wide and look like a beetle variety. They have long legs and do emit an odor when I was chasing it. Both times, they were crawling on my bed and I heard them flying about my room. I don’t know if they are stink bugs, since I know other bugs do emit odors. I am wondering what I can do to get rid of these pests because I don’t want to get back into bed! Please help me.

Dear April,
Though you provided no geographical information which could help in my identification of local species, I think your guess that the large shiny green bugs in your bed might be stink bugs could be correct. Here in Los Angeles, we have two species of green stink bugs belonging to the family Pentatomidae, both of the genus Chlorochroa, from the Greek chlôros which means “yellow-green”. They are the same general size that you describe.
Stinkbugs are true bugs, not beetles since they undergo incomplete, not complete metamorphosis. They are not shiny like a tiger beetle, but they are a vivid green. Tiger beetles, family Cicindelidae, are often a shiny, metalic green or blue green, and have very long legs that they use to chase down their prey. They are good fliers, often being mistaken for flies, but they like sunny weather and don’t emit an offensive odor. Stink bugs, on the other hand do emit an offensive odor as a defense mechanism, and are often attracted to lights at night, which could explain how they wound up in your bed. Probably the last lights you turned off in the house before retiring were in your bedroom, luring the stink bugs to your bed. Conserving electricity by keeping fewer lights on in the home might keep unwanted visitors from your bed.

Letter 14 – Stink Bugs


I live in New Hampshire and am having a problem with stink bugs. It is winter and we keep finding them in the house, on the windows, in the bathroom, etc. We seem to find one a week, where are they coming from?
Jane H.

Dear Jane H.
Stink bugs are notorious plant eaters, and they use their sucking mouthparts like a syringe to withdraw the vital fluids from their host plants. The most common species are either green or harlequin (red and black) and the green varieties are sometimes attracted to lights. These are the true stinkers in the insect world as well as being true bugs with incomplete metamorphosis. Without more information regarding the actual species I cannot conclude anything more than that perhaps the warm fall weather increased their survival rate outdoors and they entered the house for warmth, or else a houseplant, especially one that was outside this summer, has become their indoor host. Check your plants.

—Daniel Marlos

Letter 15 – Stink Bugs


MY name is joey. Today a bug fell of my wall the bug is mostly orange with black stripes and when i squeshed it it smelt really bad. it had six legs and like a spout like thing under its head the back is like a oval. I was just wondering what it was and if it was harmful. I live in VA to if that helps please write back sone the bug was half a starburst or a little more
Dear Joey,
The reason your bug smelt so badly is because it was probably a type of stink bug (family Pentatomidae) of the harlequin variety. They are true bugs, hence the sucking mouthparts which may look like a spout. They are not harmful to humans, except for the foul smelling odor which they emit from glands near the hind legs. The odor serves to discourage or repel enemies. The harlequin stink bug can be harmful to plants, especially those of the cabbage family, and they use their sucking mouthparts to withdraw vital fluids from their hosts, occasionally causing major damage when large numbers of bugs are present.
—Daniel Marlos “What’s That Bug?”

Letter 16 – Stink Bugs at Sea


Hi There
Hi There,
I work on an oil rig in the middle of the north see half way between the Orkney islands and Norway. 150 miles north east of Aberdeen. We had what can only be descried as a shower of flying beetles here. 1000’s falling from the sky and settling on the deck of the platform, along with these bugs were numerous moths and red admiral butterflies, a very rare occurrence as we hardly ever see creepy crawlies out here. Following them were numerous small birds such as robins and warblers who took full advantage of this free meal, Following the small birds were two peregrine falcons that in turn took their fair share of the small birds. No major recent storms which could have blown them out here. There has been A long period of moderate Southern winds with warm air and fog . Can anyone tell me what they are?
Graham Johnston
East Brae Platform
Marathon Oil UK

Hi Graham,
Your account of the food chain at sea is fascinating. These are not beetles, but True Bugs in the family Pentatomidae. They are commonly called Shield Bugs and even more commonly called Stink Bugs.

Letter 17 – Stinkfliege


Subject: Flying brown bug
Location: Lees summit, Missouri
June 4, 2015 10:25 pm
Hello, found this guy on my lap as I entered my car. He came along for the ride till I stopped then flew away. Looks a bit like a horse fly.
Signature: Yanik


Dear Yanik,
We are very excited to post your images of a Stinkfliege,
Coenomyia ferruginea, a fly in the family Xylophagidae, as we have but one other example on our site and your images are far superior.  Alas, there is not much information on BugGuide, but according to the translation of Insektenbox:  “Larvae live on detritus (dead vegetable matter, sludge).”  According to the translation of Insekten, the family are called Wood Flies.


Letter 18 – Stinkfliege


Subject:  Robber fly
Geographic location of the bug:  South-central New York state
Date: 06/14/2018
Time: 07:39 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I discovered this on a pepper plant on my deck, and have never seen it before. I think it may be a species of robber fly. Can you identify it?
How you want your letter signed:  Eric


Dear Eric,
This is a female Stinkfliege in the family Xylophagidae.  According to BugGuide, the female can be recognized because, among other traits, she is:  “Shiny orange with light-orange abdomen, almost white.”  Of the family, BugGuide notes:  “Adults sometimes take nectar and other fluids” and “Larvae scavengers or predators.”

Letter 19 – STINKY!


I recently came across a message where you had identified the dreaded “stink bug”. I live in northern Michigan near Petoskey. I build a new house in the winter of 2002 and in August of 2002 was invaded by brown stink bugs. I have 2 plants which I have never seen the bugs near. I usually find them near the windows. I am desperate to get rid of these ugly creatures!!!! Please advise me of anything you know that would be helpful.
Thank you,
Ami Watkins

Dear Ami,
What constitutes an invasion? A few stink bugs might have wandered into the house through the door and then were drawn to the windows because of the light. They are accidental visitations, much like the occasional fly or bee which finds itself indoors and wants nothing more than to get out. Also, they are seasonal, maturing in the late summer when you found them. You shouldn’t have a problem when they are in their wingless stages. Rest assured that stinkbugs will not take up permanent residence in your new home. Ants, roaches, termites and silverfish are a bigger concern.

Letter 20 – Tomato Stink Bugs


really cool bug
Tue, Dec 2, 2008 at 8:59 PM
I shot this bug in my garden in Austin, Texas and cant’ find it in my bug books. Hope you can help. It’s so beautiful!
Eastside Gardener
Austin, Texas

Tomato Stink Bugs
Tomato Stink Bugs

Dear Eastside Gardener,
These are Tomato Stink Bugs, Arvelius albopunctatus.  We identified them on BugGuide, which indicates that:  “It is a plant-feeder, with hosts including tomato, potato, sweet potato, green beans, sunflower, pepper, eggplant, okra, and soybean.”

Letter 21 – Tree Stink Bug


Help Identifying a bug
I found your site while my 4 year old daughter and I tried to identify an insect we found on our screen door in Sacramento California. I’m confidient you’ll be able to help us figure out what it is. I’m hoping to keep her interested in insects so she won’t develop a fear to bugs. By the way, she loved looking at all the beautiful insects on your site. Thanks in Advance,
Laura G

Hi Laura,
The Tree Stink Bug is one of the Predatory Stink Bugs in the genus Brochymena. Eric Eaton provided us with this clarification: “I would classify them as scavengers or opportunistic predators, though, as are many, if not most, Hemipterans, even if they are principally herbivores. I once saw two smaller milkweed bugs sharing a dead honeybee carcass! Was I shocked!…. Eric”

Letter 22 – Tree Stink Bug


unknown bug in lake tahoe
December 17, 2009
this is the third bug of this species we have found this winter. not sure what it is.
lake tahoe, sierra nevada mountains

Tree Stink Bug
Tree Stink Bug

Hi Brent,
This is a Stink Bug in the genus Brochymena, commonly called a Rough Stink Bug or Tree Stink Bug  We have gotten several letters per week for the past month requesting their identification.  Like the Western Conifer Seed Bug, Brochymena Stink Bugs frequently enter homes as cool weather approaches.  They will hibernate through the winter and they will not damage the home nor its contents, and they pose no threat to the human inhabitants.

Letter 23 – Tree Stink Bug


Is this a true or stink bug?
December 30, 2009
We found this dead bug in our warehouse a couple of weeks ago. Then we found your website today and spent most of the afternoon going thru submitted pics and responses. What a way to spend a quite afternoon at work!
Handly Working, Dave

Tree Stink Bug
Tree Stink Bug

Dear Dave,
We can’t help but wonder if you were handily working, or hardly working.  This is a Tree Stink Bug in the genus Brochymena.  They often seek shelter indoors when cold weather approaches and they will not damage the home, its furnishing, nor the inhabitants.  As a point of clarification, all Stink Bugs are True Bugs, but not all True Bugs are Stink Bugs.

Letter 24 – Tree Stink Bug


Subject: Cat vs. Beetle
Location: Grand Prairie, Tx
November 11, 2013 3:01 pm
I let my cat on my balcony and she darted toward this oddly colored beetle. I didn’t want her to eat it so I presumed to spat her and she ran hyper-salivating at her mouth. I freaked, so I called the vet, which got me no where. They said to google the bug and I landed here. I was wondering what kind of beetle it is and what defense mechanism does it have against animals?
Signature: Robin W

Tree Stink Bug
Tree Stink Bug

Hi Robin,
This is a Rough Stink Bug or Tree Stink Bug in the genus
Brochymena, and like other Stink Bugs, it is able to produce a foul odor as a defense mechanism.  We imagine that the foul odor might also have a foul taste, and we believe that caused the reaction in your cat, but we do not believe there will be any lasting harm.  See BugGuide for more information on the Tree Stink Bugs.

Letter 25 – Tree Stink Bug


Subject: Rock beetle?
Location: Cameron Park, CA
December 26, 2014 10:55 pm
Hi there. Just found this in my house and am stumped. He looks like a beetle obviously but he looks like he’s designed to hide on a rock. Not on my carpet. :-/
Signature: Lisa Visconti

Tree Stink Bug
Tree Stink Bug

Dear Lisa,
This is a Tree Stink Bug or Rough Stink Bug in the genus
Brochymena, and we haven’t posted a recent image of this genus to our site in quite some time.  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.” 

Letter 26 – Tree Stink Bug


Subject: what is this?
Location: Foldom, CA 95630
January 1, 2015 12:29 pm
Found this bug in my bed…yuck! Where did it come from?
Signature: Heather Moustakas

Rough Stink Bug
Tree Stink Bug

Dear Heather,
This is a Rough Stink Bug or Tree Stink Bug in the genus
Brochymena, and it is not considered a household pest, though individuals sometimes enter homes when the weather begins to cool.

Letter 27 – Tree Stink Bug Nymphs


Subject: Tick like liking bug?
Location: Central fl
December 27, 2013 1:34 pm
What type of bug is this? I was parked under a tree and near some shrubs. I had 5-6 of these bugs on my vehicle. Are they ticks?
Signature: Curious

Tree Stink Bug Nymphs
Tree Stink Bug Nymphs

Dear Curious,
These are not ticks.  They are immature Stink Bugs in the genus
Brochymena.  We matched them to photos on the Stink Bug page of Field and Swamp:  Animals and their Habitats (scroll down) and we verified that by finding this image on BugGuide.  Stink Bugs in the genus Brochymena are known as Tree Stink Bugs or Rough Stink Bugs.

Tree Stink Bug Nymph
Tree Stink Bug Nymph

Thanks so much for your help! I really appreciate it.    Have a Happy New Year

Letter 28 – Tree Stink Bugs


Red Maple Borer?
Dear Bugman,
We have a Red Maple that has suffered extensive damage due to some type of borer. The tree did not fully bloom this spring. Until now, we were not able to find any insect that could be responsible. And, the damage does not match the description for any known borers that attack maple trees. At the beginning of August, we noticed new damage consisting of an entry hole and quite a bit of sawdust at the base of the tree. Peeling back the bark revealed quite a bit of new damage to the tree. The damage included a couple of holes/tunnels that went almost 4 inches into the tree. This week we found a couple of beetle like insects on the trunk. Attached is a jpg image. Any help identifying these insects would be very appreciated. We live in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Thank You.

Hi Keith,
These are Brochymenas, Tree Stink Bugs. The winged one is an adult and the other a nymph. They are not your borers.

Letter 29 – Stink Bug Nymph from South Africa


Subject: Leaf Footed Bug
Location: Rietfontein, Pretoria, South Africa
January 9, 2014 12:00 am
In response to an earlier post I am sending two photos of a bug that I suspect is a Leaf Footed or True bug. It was observed in my garden during summer (November) 2013. Your identification help is highly appreciated.
Signature: Robert Erasmus

Immature True Bug
Immature True Bug

Hi Robert,
We are currently experiencing a technical situation that we don’t quite understand and that has caused us to contact our webmaster.  The comment you supplied to our old posting of Possibly Leaf Footed Bug Nymph from South Africa has appeared in our email account, but not to the posting itself, so we cannot approve the comment to the site.  We are happy you submitted your own photographs and we would like to address your questions.  It is interesting that you labeled one file as a Stink Bug and one as a True Bug.  We still believe the posting you originally commented upon is likely a Leaf Footed Bug, and we agree that your nymph appears to be a Stink Bug or Shield Bug nymph.  Nymphs can be notoriously difficult to identify as they often differ considerably from adults and it is generally the adult or imago that appears in identification guide books.  With that said, we will attempt to research your request.  In the meantime, we will go live and enlist the assistance of our readership, and we will follow our gut instincts and classify this as a Stink Bug or Shield Bug.

True Bug Nymph
True Bug Nymph

Your nymph looks similar to, but not identical to, this Stink Bug nymph from Pretoria that is posted to Project Noah.  We found a pretty good match on ISpot, but it is not identified beyond the Stink Bug family Pentatomidae.


Letter 30 – Stink Bugs from South Africa: Flaminia natalensis


Subject:  Shield bug in South Africa
Geographic location of the bug:  Johannesburg South Africa
Date: 12/01/2017
Time: 02:49 PM EDT
Good day,
Please could you kindly assist. I have found these bugs infesting all my aloe plants. I cannot find them in the net. The closest bug I could find is the African painted bug. They have similar markings but are more horizontal then vertical. The bugs are about 2-5mm long.  They are in huge groups and are causing substantial damage to the plants. They are only on the aloe plants.
How you want your letter signed:  Thanks

Stink Bugs

Your image includes both a mature winged Stink Bug in the family Pentatomidae and immature individuals.  We could not locate any matching images on iSpot.  We will continue to research the identity of this Stink Bug species.

Thanks for the help. A local entomologist identified them for me. They are the 8 backed shield bug.

Update from Kevin Clark:  Flaminia natalensis
Hi Daniel
Hope this helps

Ed. Note:  We are attempting to locate a second image for corroboration, and interestingly, the same image pictured on iNaturalist with the location listed as Zimbabwe is posted to Naturalista, and the map of Mexico and Central America appears.  We cannot locate other images online.

Letter 31 – Tree Stink Bug


Stink/Shield Bug from Knoxville, TN
January 7, 2010
I found this little insect crawling across the ground at the Knoxville Zoo, Knoxville, TN, during our summer vacation this past August. I believe it is a stink or shield bug, but I haven’t been able to find photos of any species with the same crisp pink trim and overall pale color of this bug. Could you help?
Knoxville, TN

Unknown Stink Bug
Tree Stink Bug

Hi GinnyGray,
We have decided to allot a bit more time than usual to provide you with a response, and that means sifting through numerous pages on BugGuide.  We have decided that we will just being indicating possibilities and then make a guess as to the actual identity.  There are some similarities to Euschistus inflatus, notably the pink edges, but that species seems to be limited to Utah according to BugGuide.  We wonder if perhaps it might just be a light, possibly recently metamorphosed Brown Stink Bug, Euschistus servus.  According to BugGuide:  “Body is oval with the underside being slightly concave and the abdomen narrow. Entire dorsal side grayish yellow with dark brownish-gray punctures becoming denser at the edges of the pronotum. The last two antennal segments (fourth and fifth) are darker in colour. The ventral surface usually has a pinkish tinge. Cheeks large passing the clypeus in length and more pointed. The humeral angles of the pronotum are rounded.
”  We will post your letter to see if anyone writes in with suggestions, and we will also contact Eric Eaton for his opinion.

Unknown Stink Bug
Tree Stink Bug

Thank you so much for your prompt response!  I examined photos of brown stink bugs before submitting, but I failed to find many photos of adults or nymphs with such a distinct pink pattern.  The paleness of the wing membrane also seems atypical for an adult, so I also suspected that it may simply have recently metamorphosed. Hopefully, you guys will unearth a more definite ID.
Thanks again!

Eric Eaton provides identification
Hi, Daniel:
This is indeed a stink bug, a recently-molted adult in the genus Brochymena.  The wing membrane has yet to attain any pigmentation, and remains soft.  It will eventually darken and stiffen.


  • Bugman

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

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  • Piyushi Dhir

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

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Tags: Stink Bugs

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9 Comments. Leave new

  • Podisus.

  • fredda granados
    March 2, 2016 12:53 pm

    Hello. Just found your site. That post, from Keith back in 2006, sound exactly like what I have in my maple tree, right now. It is boring up into a hole from which a large limb was removed by prior owners. This hole(tunnel) goes up at least 3-4 ft. at last look, sev mos ago. Appreciate any comments, info, spray I can use in hole.
    fredda Granados—southern md.

  • fredda granados
    March 2, 2016 12:53 pm

    Hello. Just found your site. That post, from Keith back in 2006, sound exactly like what I have in my maple tree, right now. It is boring up into a hole from which a large limb was removed by prior owners. This hole(tunnel) goes up at least 3-4 ft. at last look, sev mos ago. Appreciate any comments, info, spray I can use in hole.
    fredda Granados—southern md.

  • Tree stink bug has bored into and infested my mimosa tree. How can I get rid of them? I have had to cut off several large branches and when I did they came crawling out of bore holes.

  • mike meskimen
    October 3, 2018 6:21 am

    They also love Hot and sweet chilis, and like to run around on basil but haven’t seen them eat it yet. Neem Oil, Neem Oil, Neem Oil.

  • There might be something a little deeper and older going on with the costumes the Trinidadian Carnival performers are wearing. Ive never been there and don’t know. I did here that they carried what they could through their diaspora.

  • While I was swimming I received a sharp pain in my shoulder. I looked and there was a shield like bug there. It looked like a stink bug per pictures on the internet. It has stayed raised and red, but does not hurt. I thought these insects do not bite humans. If they do, is there a potential for infection?


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