Where Do Stink Bugs Come From? Unraveling the Mystery

Stink bugs, those pesky little insects that invade our homes and emit a foul smell, have been causing a nuisance for quite some time. You may wonder where these annoying creatures originate from. The brown marmorated stink bug originated in Asia, particularly China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, but have since spread to other parts of the world, including the United States.

These shield-shaped insects thrive primarily in outdoor environments and feed on plants. However, as colder weather approaches, stink bugs seek warmer shelter, often making their way into our homes. Once inside, they become a source of frustration and discomfort for many homeowners. Understanding the origins and habitats of stink bugs can help you stay prepared and take preventive measures against these unwanted guests.

Origin of Stink Bugs

Native to Asia

Stink bugs, specifically the brown marmorated stink bug, are native to Asia. They are commonly found in countries like China, Japan, Taiwan, and Korea. These insects have a distinct shield shape and release an unpleasant odor when disturbed. Stink bugs are known for being pests in agriculture, causing damage to crops.

In their native habitat, stink bugs are kept under control by natural predators and environmental factors. However, when introduced to new regions, they can become a significant problem due to the lack of natural predators.

Accidentally Introduced

Unfortunately, stink bugs were accidentally introduced to the United States in the late 1990s. They were first reported as a nuisance in homes and buildings, entering structures in search of overwintering sites. As a result, their population exploded, causing agricultural and property damage.

It is believed that they were accidentally introduced via shipping containers or other imported goods from Asia. Since then, stink bugs have spread rapidly across the US and have become an invasive species that is difficult to control.

To prevent further spread, it’s essential to take precautions such as inspecting packages, monitoring crops, and sealing gaps in buildings where they may enter. By doing so, you can help protect your home and garden from these invasive pests.

Physical Characteristics

Shape and Color

Stink bugs are known for their distinctive shape and color. They generally have an oval or shield-shaped body. This unique shape makes them easily recognizable. Here are some key features of their appearance:

  • Oval or shield-shaped body
  • Small head
  • Distinctive color patterns

For example, the green stink bug (Acrosternum hilare) has a bright green color, while the brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) has brown mottling on its shield-shaped body. Both of these species can be found in various parts of the United States.

Antennae and Abdomen

Stink bugs have five-segmented antennae that help them detect their surroundings. These antennae are essential for their survival, as they use them to search for food and navigate their environment. In some species, such as the brown marmorated stink bug, the last two antennal segments have alternating broad light and dark bands.

The abdomen of stink bugs is quite large in comparison to their head and thorax. This part of their body is crucial for reproduction and also serves as the location of their scent glands. These glands produce the foul-smelling substance that gives stink bugs their name and serves as a defense mechanism against predators.

In summary, stink bugs have a unique shape, vibrant colors, and distinctive antennae. They possess a large abdomen that houses the scent glands responsible for their notorious odor. By understanding their physical characteristics, you will be better equipped to identify and deal with these pests in your environment.

Habitat and Spread Across United States

States Affected

The brown marmorated stink bug is an invasive pest native to Asia that arrived in the United States in the mid-1990s, most likely as a stowaway in a shipping container. Since then, its habitat has spread across the United States1. From the East Coast, they have spread to many states, including:

  • Pennsylvania
  • New York
  • Delaware
  • Maryland
  • New Jersey

They have also been found in the West Coast1:

  • California
  • Oregon,
  • Washington

These bugs have also made their way to Southern states like:

  • Arizona
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Tennessee
  • Kentucky

Recent studies show that climate change might cause a 70% increase in suitable habitat for stink bugs across the United States2.

Homeowners vs Stink Bugs

During fall, homeowners often face the challenge of dealing with stink bugs as they seek warm places to overwinter1. They enter your homes through cracks, windows, and doors. The bugs can cause a nuisance when they:

  • Release an unpleasant smell
  • Damage indoor plants and gardens3

To protect your home from stink bugs, consider these measures:

  • Seal cracks and openings, especially around doors and windows
  • Install door sweeps and tighten window screens
  • Remove stink bugs outdoors using a vacuum cleaner

Remember, it’s best to deal with stink bugs before they enter your walls and become more challenging to manage.

Stink Bugs as Agricultural Pests

Affected Crops

Stink bugs, particularly the brown marmorated stink bug, can cause significant damage to various crops. Some of the commonly affected plants include:

  • Corn
  • Beans (soybeans)
  • Tomatoes
  • Apples
  • Peaches

Damage Caused

These stink bugs use their strawlike mouthparts to pierce plants and fruits, subsequently sucking out nutrients and causing deformities in growth. In corn and beans, for instance, their feeding leads to distorted fruit growth and decreased fruit quality. In fruits like apples and peaches, the damage is characterized by discolored and misshapen fruit.

Stink bugs also produce brown liquid frass that leaves spots on leaves and fruit where they are active.

Infestations and Preventive Measures

Preventing stink bug infestations can safeguard your crops and protect the agricultural industry. Here are some useful measures:

  • Regularly monitor your crops for stink bug infestations by shaking plants and checking for their presence on the ground, or placing a tray beneath the plant and shaking it.
  • Keep the area surrounding the crops clean to minimize hiding places.
  • Utilize pesticide applications when necessary, following guidelines provided by your local agricultural extension.

By closely monitoring and adopting preventive measures, you can protect your crops from stink bugs and ensure the quality of your produce.

Natural Predators and Pest Control

Natural Predators

Stink bugs have a variety of natural enemies that help control their population. Some examples include:

  • Spined soldier bug: A type of predatory stink bug that attacks and feeds on other insects, including their harmful cousins. They are beneficial to gardens and can target more than 100 species of insect pests.
  • Ants: These common insects will prey on stink bug eggs and young nymphs, reducing their numbers significantly.

Short sentences are beneficial for readers. Short paragraphs make a text easier to read.

Pest Control and Extermination Measures

If stink bugs become a problem in your home or garden, you may need to take more proactive measures. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Consult a pest control professional: They will assess your situation and recommend appropriate methods for extermination and prevention.
  • Seal your home: Close any gaps or holes in your home’s structure that might be allowing stink bugs to enter.
  • Use traps: Insect traps can help monitor stink bug populations and reduce their numbers.

For more complicated infestations, hiring an exterminator may be necessary. They can provide effective and long-term solutions tailored to your situation. Remember to balance the use of pest control measures with the preservation of helpful natural predators like the spined soldier bug or ants. This will ensure a healthier ecosystem in your garden and home.

Effects on Home and Garden

Nuisance to Homeowners

Stink bugs can be quite a nuisance to homeowners. They often enter homes to seek shelter, especially during colder months. Once inside, they can congregate in large numbers, creating an unpleasant living environment for you and your family. Their name comes from the foul odor they release when threatened or squished. This smell can be difficult to eliminate and can quickly spread throughout your home.

As a homeowner, it’s important to find ways to get rid of stink bugs. One method to prevent their entry is by sealing cracks and gaps around windows, doors, and siding. You can also use screens on your windows and doors to keep them out.

Disturbance in Gardens

Stink bugs can cause significant damage to gardens, as they feed on a variety of plants. They pierce plant tissue with their needle-like mouthparts, causing leaves to become discolored and distorted. This damage can make your once-thriving garden look unsightly and unhealthy.

To protect your garden from these pests, you can try the following methods:

  • Inspect your plants regularly for signs of stink bugs and manually remove any that you find.
  • Use row covers on your plants to keep the bugs from accessing your garden.
  • Introduce predatory stink bugs, which are beneficial insects that feed on other stink bugs, as a natural control method.
  • If necessary, apply insecticides designed for stink bug control, following the label instructions carefully.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs

Characteristics

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) is an invasive species in North America originating from Asia. Adult BMSBs are shield-shaped with brown mottling, ranging from 14 to 17 mm long, roughly the size of a U.S. dime. They have recognizable features such as:

  • Alternating broad light and dark bands on their abdominal edges
  • Last two antennal segments having similar bands
  • Clusters of 20-30 light green or yellow, elliptical-shaped eggs laid from May through August

Spread and Control

BMSBs arrived in the United States during the 1990s, undetected from Asia. Their current North American range includes the Eastern and Midwestern United States and Canada. While they don’t harm humans, crushing them releases an unpleasant odor, and their excrement may stain surfaces.

To control their population, you can take several measures such as:

  • Sealing cracks and gaps around your home
  • Installing screens on windows and vents
  • Using light traps to attract and capture them

In conclusion, BMSBs have become a nuisance due to their rapid spread, damage to crops, and unpleasant odor when disturbed. However, understanding their characteristics and implementing proper control methods can help reduce their impact on our daily lives.

Conclusion

Stink bugs are native to Asia, but they have become a widespread problem in other regions, including the United States. These insects are a major pest in crops like cotton, rice, and soybean, causing damage to the fruiting parts of plants1. Let’s take a look at some key points about stink bugs.

  • They come from the family Pentatomidae, known for their nasty smell when disturbed2.
  • Common species include the green stink bug (Acrosternum hilare) and the brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys)4.

Although stink bugs can be a nuisance, understanding their origin and characteristics can help you manage their presence. By learning more about them, you can develop better strategies for controlling and preventing damage to your plants and crops3.

Footnotes

  1. Brown Marmorated Stink Bug | US EPA 2 3 4

  2. Invasive stink bug habitat could expand with climate change 2

  3. Stink Bugs | USU – Utah State University Extension 2

  4. Utah State University Extension

Reader Emails

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

Letter 1 – Stink Bug found in Salad

 

almost lunch
Location: Salad Greens purchased in NS, Canda
September 28, 2011 7:46 am
This was in a box of salad greens I opened in June 2011. I am remiss that I don’t remember the country of origin for the box. It was so unique looking that I snapped some pictures to try and identify but that has not proven to be very easy.
Thanks!
Signature: Angela

Stink Bug

Hi Angela,
This is some species of Stink Bug, and we hope you derive consolation from the knowledge that many Stink Bugs are edible, and should you have accidentally eaten it, there would probably not have been any adverse reactions.  Here is some information from the Girl Meets Bug website:  “Jumiles: also known as stink bugs. High in B vitamins, these are said to taste either bitter or like cinnamon, and may have tranquilizing and analgesic properties. Apparently, they can survive the cooking process, and thus are often eaten alive. The yearly Jumile Festival involves the eating of thousands of jumiles, and the crowning of a Jumile Queen.”  Sadly, it appears that information came from Wikipedia.

Stink Bug

Thanks for getting back to me. I really appreciate your time. Not sure I’ll try eating one if another shows up, but it is good to know it is an option.
Again, Thanks.
Angela

Letter 2 – Stink Bug from Malaysia: Paracritheus trimaculatus

 

Subject: Shield bug (?) in Penang, Malaysia
Location: Penang Island (Pulau Pinang), Malaysia
January 18, 2013 3:49 am
Hi, we found this insect on our window in Penang, Malaysia. I haven’t been able to identify, but we think it’s a stink bug (shield bug). Please help? Many thanks!
Signature: Yen

Stink Bug

Dear Yen,
We agree that this is a Stink Bug, and we found a matching photo on FlickR, but it is not identified beyond the family level.  We also found a nymph of what appears to be the same species on FlickR, but again, it is only identified to the family level.

Thanks so much, Daniel! We enjoyed looking at the photo of the nymph as well. There are so many interesting insects here, but we (sadly) have not been able to find a decent field guide (such as Peterson field guides) for tropical insects. We would love a recommendation if you have one.
Thanks again,
Yen

Sorry we have no Malaysian Field Guide recommendations, but perhaps one of our readers will be able to assist.

Karl provides an Identification:  Paracritheus trimaculatus
Hi Daniel and Yen:
I believe it is a Paracritheus trimaculatus (Pentatomidae: Pentatominae: Hoplistoderini). As far as I can tell the genus only has the one species. I tracked it down in “The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma:  Rhynchota – Volume I” (Distant 1902). Once I had a name I was able to find two sets of images on Flickr: here and here. According to Distant, the species is “common on the Malay Peninsula, and found in many islands of the Malayan Archipelago”, so I am a little surprised that online information is so scarce. It has also been collected in the Philippines. Regards.  Karl

Letter 3 – Stink Bug found in Spinich

 

I spy a green bug in my spinach
Location: Found in organic spinach container distributed by Lucerne (located in Pleasanton, CA)
December 6, 2010 10:02 pm
Hello,
Thanks so much for your help in identifying this green bug that I found in my spinach. It was quite disappointing as I was really looking forward to eating Chicken Paillard tonight. This bug was in our Organic Spinach container and ALIVE.
Signature: Heather

Stink Bug in Organic Spinich

Dear Heather,
We could not help but to be terribly amused by your letter.  One of the characteristics of organic produce is that pesticides are not used during the cultivation.  When pesticides are not used, insects can thrive on the cultivated food supply.  Washing and inspecting packaged greens is a must even if the produce is organic.  Traditionally, greens should be washed in seven changes of water to remove all of the dirt and grit that accumulates during cultivation, and a thorough cleaning will also remove any insects that are still clinging to the plants.  In the future, you should inspect your greens before dumping them onto a plate for consumption.  Anyone with a garden knows that you are going to find insects munching on the plants, and hand picking them will help in most cases, though infestations of Aphids and certain other pests that form dense colonies may need to be sprayed off with a hose.

Letter 4 – Stink Bug from the Philippines

 

Subject: Bug
Location: Batangas, Philippines
May 21, 2013 4:38 am
Good day, Bugman! 🙂 I attached a photo of a bug I saw, I’d like to know what kind of bug it is. Hope you help me. Thank you! 🙂
Signature: Jean Gantioque

Stink Bug
Stink Bug

Hi Jean,
This is a Stink Bug or Shield Bug but we have not had any luck with a species identification.

 

Letter 5 – Shield Bug from the Philippines

 

Subject: What’s this bug?
Location: Antipolo, Rizal, Philippines
May 6, 2013 12:48 am
Hi Bugman,
I’m from the Philippines, and spotted this colorful bug on the wall of my house last April 2013.
It was quite large measuring 2 to 3 inches.
Signature: Mano

Shield Bug
Shield Bug

Dear Mano,
We identified your Hemipteran as a member of the genus Pycanum on Project Noah.
  We learned on the Heteroptera website that it is in the family Tessaratomidae.

Letter 6 – Stink Bug from South Africa

 

Subject: Stink bug
Location: Rietfontein, Pretoria, South Africa
January 9, 2014 12:54 am
I found two small almost totally white insects in my garden on 31 December 2013 and suspect that they are stink bugs. What fascinated me when I looked at the photographs was the form of their mouths; it looked like dolphins!
Your help in identifying this is highly appreciated.
Signature: Robert Erasmus

Stink Bug
Stink Bug

Hi Robert,
We agree that this is a Stink Bug or Stinkgogga as you call it, and that it is in the family Pentatomidae, but it really doesn’t have any distinguishing features that would help us (remember we are not entomologists) beyond the family level.  There are some similar looking images on ISpot, including this individual, but they are only identified to the family level as well.

Stink Bug
Stink Bug

Letter 7 – Stink Bug from Singapore

 

What This Bug?
Location: Singaproe
June 30, 2011 5:36 pm
Hi there, I knew I did send you an entry before last month but I did not see a reply here on the site. I know you guys are so busy but I just wanted to know the bug that I will be sending again. It looks like a beetle but which specific one. If this get featured, I wont bug you guys again (pun intended) about this, hehe.
Thanks a lot!
Signature: Giovanni

Stink Bug we believe

Hi Giovanni,
Sorry we missed your original email, but we are not physically able to respond to all of the mail we receive.  Thanks for resending the image.  We believe this is a Stink Bug in the family Pentatomidae, but we don’t know the species.

Letter 8 – Stink Bug from Unknown Location (AKA N.C.)

 

Ed. Note:  If you write to us and you do not use our standard form, please include a location.

Evil stinkbug – what kind?
Location:  Unknown
August 16, 2011
Dear Bug People,
Some background:  I am a new, very naive gardener, growing tomatoes and bell peppers for the first time.  Like my entire yard, my herbs and vegetables haven’t been treated with any pesticides or herbicides – not only do I have sympathy for the organic lifestyle, but I’m extremely lazy 😀
I got so excited about my developing crop, only to be crestfallen when, just before ripeness, my peppers and especially my tomatoes started showing all these little round sores and going bad.  I knew they weren’t bird pecks; those would go all the way through the skin.  I had no idea what was going on, and chalked it up to some kind of disease I knew nothing about.
I’m generally very tolerant of insects – in fact, I love them, even if I’m sometimes at a loss as to what they are – though I do squish anything I definitely recognize is a pest, like tomato hornworms, of which I’ve had only a few.  I know some shield bugs prey on pests, and so when I’d see these yellow- or chartreuse-bellied guys around – their population slowly growing larger – I let them be, thinking they were on my side.
Boy, was I wrong!

Stink Bug

A little while ago, while I was watering my tomatoes, I noticed two of them clustered on one of the fruits, unmistakably sucking the juices out.  I saw another sucking out of one of those mysterious sores on another fruit.  Needless to say, I went on a soapy water rampage, feeling very sorry for myself, my plants, and even those evil bugs.  Though I like their colorful bellies, I like fresh veggies more.
Here are some pictures – one of the insect, one for your carnage page in a cup of soapy water, and one of the damage it can inflict on a yellow bell pepper, so that other visitors can recognize the cause of this type of damage.  I’ve looked through yours and other sites; so far I’ve figured out that they’re probably stinkbugs (which I somehow didn’t know sucked plant juices!), but I haven’t found out what kind of stinkbug has a bright yellow or yellow-green underside.  I’d love to know!
Thank you!
R. Thompson

Stink Bug

Dear R. Thompson,
Thank you for your very thorough letter, however, you left our one critical item.  You did not provide us with a location.  You want us to identify your Stink Bug, we suppose to the species level, yet you did not supply us with critical information as to where on the planet this problem is occurring.  Second, though you provided us with several images of the Stink Bug, the best view for a species identification is a dorsal view that clearly shows the shape and markings.  We do NOT consider dispatching creatures that are feeding on your food to be unnecessary carnage, though we do not recommend shooting at birds and small mammals that visit your vegetable patch.  We waged war with the
African Painted Bug, Bagrada hilaris, when it appeared on the collard greens in our garden two years ago, and we are proud to say that this year we have none.  Hemipterans, including Stink Bugs, are among the biggest threats to a bounteous home harvest and we support removing the offenders from your vegetable patch.  Hemipterans have mouths designed to pierce and suck, and they often inject saliva with enzymes that causes blotching and other damage to fruits and vegetables, rendering portions of them inedible.  You can always cut away the blighted areas and eat the remainder of the pepper or tomato.  For your own benefit, you should learn to recognize local species of Predatory Stink Bugs in the subfamily Asopinae so that you do not mistake them for their plant feeding relatives.  BugGuide has some excellent photos of the Predatory Stink Bugs that live in North America, though you may be in Australia or Peru for all we know.

Pepper blighted by Stink Bug Bites

Thank you for your response!  I’m located in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Sorry, I guess it just slipped my mind!
As to the dorsal view, I guess I figured the bright belly color alone would be di-stink-tive enough to identify it 😉  They didn’t seem to have any really obvious markings on the back – just a solid-seeming brown or brownish-grey, maybe with a little subtle mottling – but then again, I probably don’t know what to look for.
I suppose I must’ve done a really good job with that soapy water, though, because I actually haven’t found any more on my plants since then!  If they do make a comeback, though, I’ll be sure to send you a photo that meets your criteria.
Until then, if this limited information helps, let me know!
Many thanks,
R. Thompson
P.S. – I did cut away the blighted areas, and it was a delicious pepper 🙂

Hi again R. Thompson,
Thanks for the followup report.  You created an immediate urge to create a garden blog tag for our site.  Now we will need to hunt out goodies from the archives, but your letter was the catalyst.  Quite frankly, isn’t the fact that it is a plant eating Stink Bug that might be introducing a virus to your peppers and causing them to blight sufficient? 
Biting True Bugs and other Hemipterans are among the leading disease vectors in plants.  So many Stink Bugs look alike to us.  We haven’t tried a “yellow bellied stink bug” search yet, but that seems like it would be a good common name.

Ed. Note:  August 19, 2011
Upon doing a web search of “yellow bellied stink bug” we were led to the genus
Euschistus on
BugGuide and this image of Euschistus tristigmus looks pretty close to your specimen.

 

 

Letter 9 – Shield Bug from China

 

Tye Dye Colored Beetles
Location: Southern Yunnan, China
December 19, 2011 7:59 pm
Bugman what is this bug! I’ve never quite seen anything like it before, I’m hoping someone here has so they can help me identify it. I was walking through the rice paddies in southern Yunnan province, China when these beetles caught my eye. Bright pink and violet with tye dye looking spots. I know pretty much nothing about beetles so as far as my description of them goes, I hope the pictures are enough. They were found in the mountains, maybe a mountain tropical environment. Help me bugman!
Signature: erin

Jewel Bugs

Hi Erin,
We tried unsuccessfully to identify your species of Shield Bug from the family Scutelleridae, a group sometimes called Jewel Bugs because of their bright often metallic coloration.  We searched using both common names and the family name, and we were unable to find a match for your distinctly colored species.  Perhaps it has not been documented with photographs on the internet because of its remote location.  The Brisbane Insectwebsite has some good information and photographs of relatives from Australia. 

Jewel Bug

All of your photos show Jewel Bugs on similar leaves, perhaps the food plant.  If we were able to identify the plant, it might help in the identification of your Jewel Bugs.

Jewel Bug

Thanks so much for the info.  Being the bad beetle photographer that I am, or at least not thinking about what plant they were on at the time I took these photographs, I had moved the bugs to be on that specific plant.  It was better than where one beetle was, on the ground walking past some animal scat.  So I’m afraid the plant won’t help.  But thanks so much for letting me know it’s a jewel bug of the Shield bug family.  I really appreciate your help.
Thanks!

Letter 10 – Shield Bug from Hong Kong

 

bright orange bug
was hiking up Victoria Peak in Hong Kong when I came across this very interesting and friendly bug. It kept crawling towards my camera, and paused long enough in front of a leaf for me to take this photo..
Ji Yoon

Hi Ji Yoon,
We are not well versed in the exotic, and Hong Kong is exotic for us in Southern California, but this is some type of Shield Bug, a True Bug. Beautiful insect though.
.

Letter 11 – Shield Bug

 

Subject: Identifying bug
Location: SW Florida
October 24, 2015 8:06 am
Hello,
I am SO thankful for this site! I have found this bug on my farm that I’m hoping you can identify for me.
Thanks so much!
Signature: Adam

Shield Bug
Shield Bug

Dear Adam,
We quickly identified your Shield Bug in the family Scutelleridae as
Orsilochides guttata thanks to images posted to BugGuide where the host plants are listed as ” Ipomoea pes-caprae (Convolvulaceae), Croton capitatus (Euphorbiaceae)” and the type locality of Georgia indicates it is a native species.  It is also pictured on the Central Florida Critter of the Day site.

Letter 12 – Shield Bug from Brazil

 

Subject: Our black/orange friend from São Paulo, Brazil
Location: Sao Paulo, Brazil
April 9, 2016 4:14 pm
Hello,
We really would like to identify our little friend from the image.
Photo taken in São Paulo, Brazil.
Signature: David Lynch

Shield Bug:  Pachycoris torridus
Shield Bug: Pachycoris torridus

Dear David,
We quickly located a Shield Bug on Insetologia that greatly resembles your individual, but it is green instead of black.  We tried researching that name, and we found this image on FlickR that looks like a very good match.  Images on Biodiversidade Teresopolis indicate this is a highly variable species.  This image on FlickR documents the maternal behavior of some species in the family.

Letter 13 – Shield Bug from Costa Rica

 

Subject:  A mystery Shield Bug in Costa Rica
Geographic location of the bug:  San Ramon, Costa Rica
Date: 01/20/2018
Time: 01:01 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this bug in a bromeliad leaf. It’s so pretty and I wanted to find out what he was. Thanks!
How you want your letter signed:  Irene Dickinson

Shield Bug

Dear Irene,
This really is a beautiful Shield Bug in the family Scutellaridae, and it is quite apparent why in parts of the world, Shield Bugs are called Jewel Bugs, notably Australia, as this Queensland Museum posting indicates.  Alas we were not having any luck locating images online of white Shield Bugs from Costa Rica, so we turned to our own archives where we have an image posted of a Spotted Shield Bug,
Pachycoris torridus, from Costa Rica that looks similar but is quite different in both colors and markings.  We thought perhaps your individual might be in the same genus.  We were actually shocked to learn it is the same species, based on this image from Project Noah.  According to Neotropical Entomology there is much variation in both colors and markings for this species.

Shield Bug

Letter 14 – Shield Bug from China

 

Back to the future bug
Location:  Yunnan, China
December 4, 2012
Hello Bugman!
I encountered this fabulous neon hemipteran while doing a Habitat build in Yunnan, China near Pu’er. My guess was it’s some kind of shield bug but wanted your expert opinion and maybe a species name. I feel like it should be something like Cyndii lauperesqueae.
Cheers!
Marian Lyman Kirst

Shield Bug is a nice Insect Accessory

Dear Marian,
We agree that this is a Shield Bug, but our initial internet search did not turn up any matches.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to assist in a species identification.  We are obsessed with the complimentary color scheme of your nail polish and the Shield Bug, so we have tagged this posting as a Buggy Accessory.  In the future, please use our standard submission form as it makes our posting life so much easier.

Possible Identification Courtesy of Karl
December 14, 2012
Hi Daniel and Marian:
This one may be a toss-up. I thought I had it when I came across several photos of Poecilocoris sp. and Poecilocoris rufigenis that appeared to be a close match. Further digging, however, turned up numerous images of the Giant Jewel Bug (Eucorysses grandis) that looked just as good. The latter species is wide spread in Asia, occurring in at least Japan, China, Taiwan, Thailand, India and Java. I believe Eucorysses grandis is the currently accepted name but it also shows up under the synonyms Cimex grandis and Chrysocoris grandis. If I had to choose I would probably go with Eucorysses grandis as the correct identification, but I can’t be certain. Regards.  Karl

Thanks for the research Karl.

Letter 15 – Shield Bug from Costa Rica

 

Subject: Beetle ID
Location: Costa Rica – Monteverde region
July 5, 2012 10:17 am
Hello,
For hours I’ve now been trying to get an ID on this nice beetle but I still am standing nowhere. My best guess is that it’s a member of the Chrysomelidae, but even of that I’m not sure. I saw it in Costa Rica (Monteverde Region) in November. It was around 2cm large, although I’m very bad at guessing sizes. Maybe you can help me? I would already be very happy with an ID on family level. Thanks!
Signature: Sincerely, Stefanie

Shield Bug

Hi Stefanie,
This is not a Beetle.  It is a Shield Bug in the family Scutelleridae.  We are not having much luck finding an exact match, but it closely resembles the Spotted Shield Bug,
Pachycoris torridus, which is pictured on Project Noah.  We cannot say for certain if it is the same species since there is often much variation in the number and size of markings within a species.

Hello,
Thank you so much for your fast reply. I found some more pictures of the species it resembles that look even more similar
(http://www.flickr.com/photos/theactionitems/6912741301/in/set-72157629089500575/ ).
I’m very happy with the info!
Cheers,
Stefanie

Letter 16 – Shield Bug from Malaysia: Mucanum patibulum

 

What’s That Bug? i/d help required
Location: Panti Forest, Johor, Malaysia
April 3, 2012 3:54 am
Hi
I came across this weirdly shaped bug. Would be grateful if someone can help with the i/d. So far my surfing has not surfaced anything even remotely alike.
thanks!
Signature: rgds lpb

Shield Bug: Mucanum patibulum

Dear rgds lpb,
My, this is an unusual looking True Bug.  We did a web search of Heteroptera and Malaysia and quickly identified your Shield Bug as
Mucanum patibulum on the Heteroptera, un site pour les punaises.  There is an additional photo on the Canon Digital Photography Forum website devoted to Shield Bugs. 

Good morning Daniel
Many, many thanks for the i/d and links. Most appreciated
btw just curious, which country are you emailing from?
regards
Ms Lim Poh Bee

You are welcome Ms Lim Poh Bee,
The offices of What’s That Bug? are located in Los Angeles, California.

Letter 17 – Shield Bug from Mexico: Augocoris species

 

Subject:  What is this bug – Beetle?
Geographic location of the bug:  Jalisco, Mexico
Date: 04/04/2021
Time: 11:56 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this guy in my garden. It’s size is what first caught my attention. I took it’s picture but did not, unfortunately take a measurement. It is about 8 to 10 times larger than an average Ladybug (which I thought it might be some giant species of at first). I wanted to find out if it was a beneficial insect or if it was going to do damage to my garden. No one I know seemed to know what it was from the picture (except a lot of people thought it was some kind of Ladybug as well). I did relocate it to a wild area near my house since I did not want to destroy it. Hopefully you can help me solve the mystery of it’s identity.
How you want your letter signed:  Mario L Pardillo

Shield Bug: Augocoris species

Dear Mario,
This is not a Beetle.  It is a True Bug in the family Scutelleridae, commonly called Shield Bugs or Jewel Bugs.  We believe based on images posted to ResearchGate and to iNaturalist that it is in the genus
Augocoris, possibly Augocoris illustris.  That species is listed on BugGuide, though the individuals are highly variable, ranging from pure orange to pure white, and judging by this image of a mating pair on BugGuide, they are also sexually dimorphic.  The food plant listed on BugGuide is Chrysophyllum oliviforme, and regarding your concerns about it being damaging to your garden, we believe that as a native species, it has predators that will keep it in check and you should not worry unless you find large numbers on individual plants.

Shield Bug

Letter 18 – Shield Bug from Singapore

 

Subject:  Bug with distinct markings
Geographic location of the bug:  Singapore
Date: 10/31/2017
Time: 09:46 PM EDT
This bug flew into my room in the late evening. It is a pretty bug with distinct markings. Any idea what is it? Thanks!
How you want your letter signed:  YT

Shield Bug

Dear YT,
We quickly identified your Shield Bug as
Cantao ocellatus thanks to the Bugs and Insects of Singapore site where it states:  “They are often found on the native plant, balek angin, Mallotus paniculatus.  I had seen this colourful shield bug twice, at the forest edge of Rifle Range Road and a canal in Jurong Woods.”  The species is also pictured on iNaturalist and on Macau Biodiversity where it states:  “Shield bug, reddish or ochre in color with variable number of black or yellow spots and a dark with metallic sheen stripe along the central line of the head. The legs and antennae are also blueish-green with metallic sheen. It can be found on the top of trees, such as Malottus paniculatus.”

Dear Bugman,
Thank you so much for the prompt reply!
Best wishes,
Yueat Tin

Letter 19 – Shield Bugs in Decorative Mounting

 

Subject:  Pretty Mystery Beetles
Geographic location of the bug:  Unknown
Date: 05/11/2018
Time: 12:32 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  A friend who is a collector was gifted this by a friend, and before I go on, I just want to specify that the friend who collects always makes sure the creatures died naturally, or humanely if not naturally (ie severely deformed & no quality of life, euthanized humanely etc), and is an animal lover, but as this was gifted to him, he is unsure of its origins in this instance, but I hope that does not dissuade you from identifying these fascinatingly beautiful beetles if possible…
How you want your letter signed:  Pam

Shield Bugs in decorative Mounting

Dear Pam,
These are not beetles.  They are Shield Bugs in the order Scutellaridae.  Without a country of origin, it will be difficult to determine an exact species, but they do resemble the individual in this FlickR posting that be believe was taken in Portugal.  The decorative presentation is reminiscent of Victorian displays.

Letter 20 – Shield Bugs or Jewel Bugs from Singapore

 

shiny stinkbug colony
Sun, Jan 18, 2009 at 8:49 AM
dear bugman
I found a bunch of stinkbugs huddled on a leaf in a mangrove swamp.Could you help me identify them?Why are they huddled together?Are they laying eggs?
Thanks
Curious
Singapore

Jewel Bugs
Jewel Bugs

Dear Curious,
In our opinion, there are Shield Bugs or Jewel Bugs in the family Scutelleridae, not Stink Bugs in the family Pentatomidae. Interestingly, the closest image we could locate online is on the Guide to the Mangroves of Singapore website, and the matching insects are identified as Calliphara nobilis in the Family Pentatomidae and indicates: “Larvae are found only on Excoecaria agallocha, feeding on developing seeds, but adults can be abundant in gregarious swarms beneath any large leaves (e.g., Rhizophora spp.) and disperse with a loud buzzing when disturbed.” The plant that is mentioned as the larval food, Excoecaria agallocha or Buta-Buta, looks identical to the plant leaf in your photo. W
e tried searching that name, and found a mounted specimen on an Australian Government website, but the colors are different and the spots are larger and the family is identified as Scutelleridae. The spot size may be variable and the colors may fade with death. An untranslated Asian website has many images of the species, and other than being much greener than your image, they look remarkably similar.  Sadly, the species is not represented on one of these lovely stamps.

Jewel Bugs
Jewel Bugs

Update: April 2, 2011
We just posted a new letter and consequently, we have identified these Jewel Bugs as Mangrove Stink Bugs,
Calliphara nobilis.

Letter 21 – Shield Bug from Nicaragua

 

Subject: Black bug with yellow markings…
Location: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
July 8, 2012 3:54 pm
Hello Bugman,
last one for today 😉 I’ve been looking for ages for that bug, & can’t find it anywhere… It looks like a beetle… It’s another rescue from my pool.
Thanks!
Signature: PunkRockGirl

Subject: how to do a search?
July 8, 2012 2:46 pm
Dear Bugman!
I have been “bugging” you 😉 with lots of “what’s that bug?” message lately & I thought maybe it would help me if I could get some pointers from you on the BEST way to perform a search on your site? Right now for exemple I am looking for a black beetle with yellow dots on the back & yellow stripes on the head… if I write that in the Search box, I get a lot of things unrelated so I am probably doing it wrong… Can you help?
Thanks!!
PRG
Signature: Guylaine Madden

Shield Bug

Dear PunkRockGirl,
This is not a beetle.  It is a True Bug, but we are not even certain of the family.  We would guess a Shield Bug in the family Scutelleridae.  We will post this image and hopefully one of our readers will be able to assist in the identification.
The best way to use our search engine is to type in a few key words.  This doesn’t work as well on our site with insects not from North America because they are not as well represented.  Knowing the order really helps.  We know you spent a great deal of time trying to identify this True Bug because you incorrectly believed it to be a beetle.

Karl provides an indetification
July 15, 2012
It is a Shield Bug (Scutelleridae), probably in the genus Chelysomidea.  Photos and information are hard to find, but it looks very similar to C. scurrilus. Older names include Pachycoris scurrilis and Orsilochus scurrilus (scurrilis and scurrilus appear interchangeably, regardless of genus, but I believe the correct spelling is with a ‘u’). Regards.  Karl

Letter 22 – Shield Bugs from Uganda: Solenosthedium liligerum

 

Subject: bug ID
Location: Uganda
February 12, 2016 9:42 am
Hi,
I found these two on a carcass of a zebra in Ugnada, Africa. Time of year was August. Any ideas what these might be?
Thanks,
Signature: Gideon

Unknown Stink or Shield Bugs
Shield Bugs

Dear Gideon,
We are having a difficult time finding any matching images of your True Bugs which are in the superfamily Pentatomoidea, which includes Stink Bugs and Shield Bugs.  They are not pictured on Some Kenyan Hemiptera and Homoptera, and we could not find them on iSpot.

Update
Thanks to a comment from Cesar Crash, we have matching images from Alamy indicating this is
Solenosthedium liligerum.  There are also several images on iSpot.

Letter 23 – Stink Bug from Belize: Edessa rufomarginata

 

Subject: Stink Bug??
Location: Belize
April 19, 2014 7:02 am
I am thinking this may be a stink bug! What do you think?
The colors are striking!! Light blue, vivid orange and black abdomen. (About 1/2″x1/4″x1/4″). Thank You!
Signature: Reggie

Stink Bug
Stink Bug

Do you have larger files?

Yes! I’ve sent you the originals. I’ve just sharpened them without cropping or size change. ( FYI, The bugs may be a little larger than I quoted. Maybe 3/4″ long instead of 1/2″.) Thanks!

Thanks for resending the images Reggie.  Unfortunately, all you did was crop the originals and the Stink Bug is not any larger in the resent files.  We identified you Stink Bug as Edessa rufomarginata on Flickr, and we verified that on an Asian version of National Geographic.  We also located an image of Edessa rufomarginata in our own archives.

Hi Daniel,
Thank you for going to all that trouble!! It’s wonderful to know what the critter is finally! None of my friends here had any idea what it might be! Sincerely, thank you!
Reggie

Letter 24 – Stink Bug from Belize: Edessa rufomarginata

 

Subject: Turquoise and orange bug
Location: Ambergris Caye, Belize
August 22, 2013 3:01 pm
These beautiful stink-bug shaped bugs were all over this red-edged plant in May, just before the rainy season here in Belize. Could anyone help identify them? No extermination, by the way, here -we left them all live to do their buggy things. I apologize for the quality – I shot it with my cell phone. Thanks
Signature: Richard Todd, EPIC

Stink Bug:  Edessa rufomarginata
Stink Bug: Edessa rufomarginata

Dear Richard,
This really is a beautiful Stink Bug.  We quickly identified it as
Edessa rufomarginata on FlickR, and then we verified that on Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Thank you Daniel. You do very fast work, despite your disclaimers. I realize you cannot make everyone happy with a limited staff.

Letter 25 – Stink Bug from Madagascar

 

Subject: Madagscar Beetle/Bug sp. 2
Location: Isalo NP, Madagascar
March 10, 2013 5:26 pm
Hi,
here is another beetle that I can’t ID. I hope you can help me. I think it was some 2 cm long.
Signature: Kristian

Stink Bug
Stink Bug

Hi Again Kristian,
This is not a beetle.  It is a True Bug and we believe it is a Stink Bug in the family Pentatomidae.  We found two matching images online that agree it is
Agaeus bicolor, however, we cannot substantiate that identification with any credible websites.  The matching images we found are on Dijitalimaj and Jungle Dragon and both list the location as Madagascar as well.

Letter 26 – Stink Bug from Portugal

 

6 legged bug with distintive red pattern on the back
Sun, Mar 29, 2009 at 2:34 AM
I’ve never seen this bug. My parents don’t recognize it.
The bug’s body is 7 (+/-1)mm long and has a well defined red pattern on the back.
I’ve found 2 in the kitchen at spring start. The weather was dry, cold and windy for 2 days after 15 days of (beautiful) warm spring days.
thanks for the help !
Francisco
Northern Portugal

Stink Bug from Portugal
Stink Bug from Portugal

Sun, Mar 29, 2009 at 3:45 AM
Found it !
The photos matches almost exactly the Eurydema ornatum
http://www.britishbugs.org.uk/heteroptera/Pentatomidae/Eurydema_ornatum.html
The links on your site where precious.
Many thanks.
Francisco

Hi Francisco,
We are quite pleased that you were able to properly identify your Stink Bug using our site and links.  This is relevant right now because for some reason, our less than ideal internet provider, Time Warner, is far from consistent with our service.  It has taken us over a half an hour to do this one posting.  We hope our readership will bear with us since we cannot answer our mail as this is taking way too much time right now.

Letter 27 – Stink Bug from Portugal

 

Identify bug
Location: Near Lisbon, Portugal
January 14, 2011 10:51 am
Hi bugman,
I just found this bug today. I was trying to identify it but with no success.
Can you help me?
Thanks a lot
Signature: Pedro Sanches

Stink Bug

Hi Pedro,
This is some species of Stink Bug in the family Pentatomidae, but we haven’t the time at the moment to research the exact species.  We will return to that task later today.

Letter 28 – Stink Bug from Spain: Carpocoris mediterraneo

 

Subject: Bug in Spain
Location: Viana, Navarre, Spain (amongst the vineyards)
July 27, 2013 8:43 am
Hi, I was out taking photos of bugs etc and came across this unusual one in the pic. I can’t find a pic of him on Google anywhere. Any ideas?
Thanks
Signature: Diem Burden

Stink Bug:  Carpocoris mediterraneo
Stink Bug: Carpocoris mediterraneo

Hi Diem Burden,
This is a Stink Bug in the family Pentatomidae.  We quickly found a match on TrekNature for
Carpocoris mediterraneo, and then we found a second image also on TrekNature.

Letter 29 – Stink Bug from Hawaii

 

Subject: Green beetle?
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
January 5, 2017 3:17 am
This bug was on my ceiling. It was difficult to pry off (felt like ripping off velcro) and appeared to have green insides, despite being originally brown/gray in color.
Signature: Kristin

Stink Bug

Dear Kristin,
This is NOT a beetle.  It is a Stink Bug in the family Pentatomidae, and we are uncertain of the species.

Thank you Daniel for responding to me so quickly! Do I need to be concerned about this stink bug? As in do they bite or feed on blood or did he just kind of accidentally get into my house and his food source is more outside? If that makes sense..
Kristin

Hi again Kristin,
While we admit that Stink Bugs might be capable of biting a person, that would not be a normal occurrence.  There are some Predatory Stink Bugs that feed on other insects, most Stink Bugs have mouths adapted to piercing the surface of plants and sucking the fluids they find in the stems, leaves, blossoms and fruits.

Hi Daniel,
Oh wow that’s interesting! Thank you so much again for the information! Take care!
Kristin

Letter 30 – Stink Bug from South Africa

 

Subject: Please Help
Location: Ceres South Africa
January 17, 2016 6:28 am
Please help me to identify this bug.
We have got an infestation of these bugs.
Your assistance would be very much appreciated!
Signature: dont mind

Stink Bug
Stink Bug

This is a Stink Bug in the family Pentatomidae, and our identification was negatively impacted because one of our best sources for South African identifications, iSpot, is currently offline.  We found a matching image on Biodiversity Explorer identified as Antestiopsis orbitalis, but there is no other information.  Project Noah also has a matching image.  We found the most information on the Plantwise Knowledge Bank where the host plants is listed as coffee.  Perhaps you grow coffee nearby.  Damage to plants is noted as “Economic losses can occur as follows:
Losses due to the shedding of the young fruits. These losses are difficult to quantify.
Losses due to the occurrence of the fungus Nematospora spp. (Endomycetales) in the fruit following Antestiopsis wounding.
Losses due to infested beans which are the most significant. The percentage of infested beans is very variable, from 10 to 32% or more without treatment.
Moreover, in the great lakes area of East Africa, arabica coffee can develop an undesirable taste known as ‘peasy’, ‘goût de pomme de terre (GPDT)’ or ‘erbsig’. This reduces the quality of the commercial coffee. The taste is due to a bacterium belonging to the family of Enterobacteriaceae which has not yet been fully identified. Studies carried out in Burundi by Bouyjou et al. (1999) showed a link between the number of beans affected by the bug and the percentage of cups with the ‘peasy taste’. This work showed that protection against
A. orbitalis made it possible to obtain a significant reduction in infested beans as well as a lower rate of tainted cups.”  We do not provide extermination advice, but there are suggestions on the Plantwise Knowledge Bank

Dear Daniel
Thank you so very much for the info.
Any idea if it would bite humans?
Kind regards
Reuben Roux

Hi Reuben,
We once heard it stated that “if it has a mouth, it might bite” but we feel getting bitten by a Stink Bug is highly unlikely.

Letter 31 – Stink Bug from US Virgin Islands is probably Runibia caribeana

 

Subject: Orange and Black Pentatomid?
Location: US Virgin Island
March 22, 2016 9:57 am
Hello, I was recently on a study abroad course to the VI and took a few pictures of the insect I found there. I haven’t been able to find any resources on identifying what I found (especially since I only have a few pictures instead of pined specimens). If there is any chance you could identify this bug for me?
Signature: Brandon Claridge

Stink Bug
Stink Bug

Dear Brandon,
The closest match we were able to find to your individual is this image on FlickR of
Euryderma ventralis, but the markings are different.  Perhaps one of our readers will have better luck.

Stink Bug
Stink Bug

Letter 32 – Shield Bug from China

 

Subject: Chinese bug
Location: Anshun, China
November 20, 2016 10:50 pm
Saw this bug in Anshun, China in October. Cicadas were singing but this was the only bug I could find. Thanks for keeping up this great site.
Signature: Mark

Stink Bug
Shield Bug

Dear Mark,
This is a Stink Bug or Shield Bug in the superfamily Pentatomoidea, but alas, we have not found a conclusive visual match online.  Perhaps one of our readers will have better luck with a species identification.

Identification Courtesy of Karl
Hello Daniel and Mark:
I believe your bug is in a related family, the Shield Bugs (Acanthosomatidae). The genus is probably Acanthosoma, and it looks very similar to A. labiduroides. Since it lacks the long tail projections that are typical for males, I would say it is a female. Regards. Karl

Letter 33 – Stink Bug from Mexico: Edessa species

 

Subject: Found a weird bug apparently struggling
Location: Guanajuato México
December 11, 2016 1:08 pm
I live right on the middle of Mexico and i found this guy in my patio. It’s trying to get up, i helped him a couple times but i dont know if there is something wrong with his legs or what he may be needing, never seen this before, maybe family with chinches? He must be the size of my thumb
Signature: Intriguedly yours

Stink Bug
Stink Bug

Try as we might, we have been unable to find a visual match to your Stink Bug in the family Pentatomidae online.  Perhaps one of our readers will have better luck with an identification to the genus or species level.

Karl Identifies Stink Bug
Hi Daniel and Intriguedly yours:
It looks like Edessa sp.; probably E. reticulata. Edessa is a very large genus with many similar species, but I think E. reticulata is a pretty close match to the posted image. Regards, Karl

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 Bug found in Salad

 

almost lunch
Location: Salad Greens purchased in NS, Canda
September 28, 2011 7:46 am
This was in a box of salad greens I opened in June 2011. I am remiss that I don’t remember the country of origin for the box. It was so unique looking that I snapped some pictures to try and identify but that has not proven to be very easy.
Thanks!
Signature: Angela

Stink Bug

Hi Angela,
This is some species of Stink Bug, and we hope you derive consolation from the knowledge that many Stink Bugs are edible, and should you have accidentally eaten it, there would probably not have been any adverse reactions.  Here is some information from the Girl Meets Bug website:  “Jumiles: also known as stink bugs. High in B vitamins, these are said to taste either bitter or like cinnamon, and may have tranquilizing and analgesic properties. Apparently, they can survive the cooking process, and thus are often eaten alive. The yearly Jumile Festival involves the eating of thousands of jumiles, and the crowning of a Jumile Queen.”  Sadly, it appears that information came from Wikipedia.

Stink Bug

Thanks for getting back to me. I really appreciate your time. Not sure I’ll try eating one if another shows up, but it is good to know it is an option.
Again, Thanks.
Angela

Letter 2 – Stink Bug from Malaysia: Paracritheus trimaculatus

 

Subject: Shield bug (?) in Penang, Malaysia
Location: Penang Island (Pulau Pinang), Malaysia
January 18, 2013 3:49 am
Hi, we found this insect on our window in Penang, Malaysia. I haven’t been able to identify, but we think it’s a stink bug (shield bug). Please help? Many thanks!
Signature: Yen

Stink Bug

Dear Yen,
We agree that this is a Stink Bug, and we found a matching photo on FlickR, but it is not identified beyond the family level.  We also found a nymph of what appears to be the same species on FlickR, but again, it is only identified to the family level.

Thanks so much, Daniel! We enjoyed looking at the photo of the nymph as well. There are so many interesting insects here, but we (sadly) have not been able to find a decent field guide (such as Peterson field guides) for tropical insects. We would love a recommendation if you have one.
Thanks again,
Yen

Sorry we have no Malaysian Field Guide recommendations, but perhaps one of our readers will be able to assist.

Karl provides an Identification:  Paracritheus trimaculatus
Hi Daniel and Yen:
I believe it is a Paracritheus trimaculatus (Pentatomidae: Pentatominae: Hoplistoderini). As far as I can tell the genus only has the one species. I tracked it down in “The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma:  Rhynchota – Volume I” (Distant 1902). Once I had a name I was able to find two sets of images on Flickr: here and here. According to Distant, the species is “common on the Malay Peninsula, and found in many islands of the Malayan Archipelago”, so I am a little surprised that online information is so scarce. It has also been collected in the Philippines. Regards.  Karl

Letter 3 – Stink Bug found in Spinich

 

I spy a green bug in my spinach
Location: Found in organic spinach container distributed by Lucerne (located in Pleasanton, CA)
December 6, 2010 10:02 pm
Hello,
Thanks so much for your help in identifying this green bug that I found in my spinach. It was quite disappointing as I was really looking forward to eating Chicken Paillard tonight. This bug was in our Organic Spinach container and ALIVE.
Signature: Heather

Stink Bug in Organic Spinich

Dear Heather,
We could not help but to be terribly amused by your letter.  One of the characteristics of organic produce is that pesticides are not used during the cultivation.  When pesticides are not used, insects can thrive on the cultivated food supply.  Washing and inspecting packaged greens is a must even if the produce is organic.  Traditionally, greens should be washed in seven changes of water to remove all of the dirt and grit that accumulates during cultivation, and a thorough cleaning will also remove any insects that are still clinging to the plants.  In the future, you should inspect your greens before dumping them onto a plate for consumption.  Anyone with a garden knows that you are going to find insects munching on the plants, and hand picking them will help in most cases, though infestations of Aphids and certain other pests that form dense colonies may need to be sprayed off with a hose.

Letter 4 – Stink Bug from the Philippines

 

Subject: Bug
Location: Batangas, Philippines
May 21, 2013 4:38 am
Good day, Bugman! 🙂 I attached a photo of a bug I saw, I’d like to know what kind of bug it is. Hope you help me. Thank you! 🙂
Signature: Jean Gantioque

Stink Bug
Stink Bug

Hi Jean,
This is a Stink Bug or Shield Bug but we have not had any luck with a species identification.

 

Letter 5 – Shield Bug from the Philippines

 

Subject: What’s this bug?
Location: Antipolo, Rizal, Philippines
May 6, 2013 12:48 am
Hi Bugman,
I’m from the Philippines, and spotted this colorful bug on the wall of my house last April 2013.
It was quite large measuring 2 to 3 inches.
Signature: Mano

Shield Bug
Shield Bug

Dear Mano,
We identified your Hemipteran as a member of the genus Pycanum on Project Noah.
  We learned on the Heteroptera website that it is in the family Tessaratomidae.

Letter 6 – Stink Bug from South Africa

 

Subject: Stink bug
Location: Rietfontein, Pretoria, South Africa
January 9, 2014 12:54 am
I found two small almost totally white insects in my garden on 31 December 2013 and suspect that they are stink bugs. What fascinated me when I looked at the photographs was the form of their mouths; it looked like dolphins!
Your help in identifying this is highly appreciated.
Signature: Robert Erasmus

Stink Bug
Stink Bug

Hi Robert,
We agree that this is a Stink Bug or Stinkgogga as you call it, and that it is in the family Pentatomidae, but it really doesn’t have any distinguishing features that would help us (remember we are not entomologists) beyond the family level.  There are some similar looking images on ISpot, including this individual, but they are only identified to the family level as well.

Stink Bug
Stink Bug

Letter 7 – Stink Bug from Singapore

 

What This Bug?
Location: Singaproe
June 30, 2011 5:36 pm
Hi there, I knew I did send you an entry before last month but I did not see a reply here on the site. I know you guys are so busy but I just wanted to know the bug that I will be sending again. It looks like a beetle but which specific one. If this get featured, I wont bug you guys again (pun intended) about this, hehe.
Thanks a lot!
Signature: Giovanni

Stink Bug we believe

Hi Giovanni,
Sorry we missed your original email, but we are not physically able to respond to all of the mail we receive.  Thanks for resending the image.  We believe this is a Stink Bug in the family Pentatomidae, but we don’t know the species.

Letter 8 – Stink Bug from Unknown Location (AKA N.C.)

 

Ed. Note:  If you write to us and you do not use our standard form, please include a location.

Evil stinkbug – what kind?
Location:  Unknown
August 16, 2011
Dear Bug People,
Some background:  I am a new, very naive gardener, growing tomatoes and bell peppers for the first time.  Like my entire yard, my herbs and vegetables haven’t been treated with any pesticides or herbicides – not only do I have sympathy for the organic lifestyle, but I’m extremely lazy 😀
I got so excited about my developing crop, only to be crestfallen when, just before ripeness, my peppers and especially my tomatoes started showing all these little round sores and going bad.  I knew they weren’t bird pecks; those would go all the way through the skin.  I had no idea what was going on, and chalked it up to some kind of disease I knew nothing about.
I’m generally very tolerant of insects – in fact, I love them, even if I’m sometimes at a loss as to what they are – though I do squish anything I definitely recognize is a pest, like tomato hornworms, of which I’ve had only a few.  I know some shield bugs prey on pests, and so when I’d see these yellow- or chartreuse-bellied guys around – their population slowly growing larger – I let them be, thinking they were on my side.
Boy, was I wrong!

Stink Bug

A little while ago, while I was watering my tomatoes, I noticed two of them clustered on one of the fruits, unmistakably sucking the juices out.  I saw another sucking out of one of those mysterious sores on another fruit.  Needless to say, I went on a soapy water rampage, feeling very sorry for myself, my plants, and even those evil bugs.  Though I like their colorful bellies, I like fresh veggies more.
Here are some pictures – one of the insect, one for your carnage page in a cup of soapy water, and one of the damage it can inflict on a yellow bell pepper, so that other visitors can recognize the cause of this type of damage.  I’ve looked through yours and other sites; so far I’ve figured out that they’re probably stinkbugs (which I somehow didn’t know sucked plant juices!), but I haven’t found out what kind of stinkbug has a bright yellow or yellow-green underside.  I’d love to know!
Thank you!
R. Thompson

Stink Bug

Dear R. Thompson,
Thank you for your very thorough letter, however, you left our one critical item.  You did not provide us with a location.  You want us to identify your Stink Bug, we suppose to the species level, yet you did not supply us with critical information as to where on the planet this problem is occurring.  Second, though you provided us with several images of the Stink Bug, the best view for a species identification is a dorsal view that clearly shows the shape and markings.  We do NOT consider dispatching creatures that are feeding on your food to be unnecessary carnage, though we do not recommend shooting at birds and small mammals that visit your vegetable patch.  We waged war with the
African Painted Bug, Bagrada hilaris, when it appeared on the collard greens in our garden two years ago, and we are proud to say that this year we have none.  Hemipterans, including Stink Bugs, are among the biggest threats to a bounteous home harvest and we support removing the offenders from your vegetable patch.  Hemipterans have mouths designed to pierce and suck, and they often inject saliva with enzymes that causes blotching and other damage to fruits and vegetables, rendering portions of them inedible.  You can always cut away the blighted areas and eat the remainder of the pepper or tomato.  For your own benefit, you should learn to recognize local species of Predatory Stink Bugs in the subfamily Asopinae so that you do not mistake them for their plant feeding relatives.  BugGuide has some excellent photos of the Predatory Stink Bugs that live in North America, though you may be in Australia or Peru for all we know.

Pepper blighted by Stink Bug Bites

Thank you for your response!  I’m located in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Sorry, I guess it just slipped my mind!
As to the dorsal view, I guess I figured the bright belly color alone would be di-stink-tive enough to identify it 😉  They didn’t seem to have any really obvious markings on the back – just a solid-seeming brown or brownish-grey, maybe with a little subtle mottling – but then again, I probably don’t know what to look for.
I suppose I must’ve done a really good job with that soapy water, though, because I actually haven’t found any more on my plants since then!  If they do make a comeback, though, I’ll be sure to send you a photo that meets your criteria.
Until then, if this limited information helps, let me know!
Many thanks,
R. Thompson
P.S. – I did cut away the blighted areas, and it was a delicious pepper 🙂

Hi again R. Thompson,
Thanks for the followup report.  You created an immediate urge to create a garden blog tag for our site.  Now we will need to hunt out goodies from the archives, but your letter was the catalyst.  Quite frankly, isn’t the fact that it is a plant eating Stink Bug that might be introducing a virus to your peppers and causing them to blight sufficient? 
Biting True Bugs and other Hemipterans are among the leading disease vectors in plants.  So many Stink Bugs look alike to us.  We haven’t tried a “yellow bellied stink bug” search yet, but that seems like it would be a good common name.

Ed. Note:  August 19, 2011
Upon doing a web search of “yellow bellied stink bug” we were led to the genus
Euschistus on
BugGuide and this image of Euschistus tristigmus looks pretty close to your specimen.

 

 

Letter 9 – Shield Bug from China

 

Tye Dye Colored Beetles
Location: Southern Yunnan, China
December 19, 2011 7:59 pm
Bugman what is this bug! I’ve never quite seen anything like it before, I’m hoping someone here has so they can help me identify it. I was walking through the rice paddies in southern Yunnan province, China when these beetles caught my eye. Bright pink and violet with tye dye looking spots. I know pretty much nothing about beetles so as far as my description of them goes, I hope the pictures are enough. They were found in the mountains, maybe a mountain tropical environment. Help me bugman!
Signature: erin

Jewel Bugs

Hi Erin,
We tried unsuccessfully to identify your species of Shield Bug from the family Scutelleridae, a group sometimes called Jewel Bugs because of their bright often metallic coloration.  We searched using both common names and the family name, and we were unable to find a match for your distinctly colored species.  Perhaps it has not been documented with photographs on the internet because of its remote location.  The Brisbane Insectwebsite has some good information and photographs of relatives from Australia. 

Jewel Bug

All of your photos show Jewel Bugs on similar leaves, perhaps the food plant.  If we were able to identify the plant, it might help in the identification of your Jewel Bugs.

Jewel Bug

Thanks so much for the info.  Being the bad beetle photographer that I am, or at least not thinking about what plant they were on at the time I took these photographs, I had moved the bugs to be on that specific plant.  It was better than where one beetle was, on the ground walking past some animal scat.  So I’m afraid the plant won’t help.  But thanks so much for letting me know it’s a jewel bug of the Shield bug family.  I really appreciate your help.
Thanks!

Letter 10 – Shield Bug from Hong Kong

 

bright orange bug
was hiking up Victoria Peak in Hong Kong when I came across this very interesting and friendly bug. It kept crawling towards my camera, and paused long enough in front of a leaf for me to take this photo..
Ji Yoon

Hi Ji Yoon,
We are not well versed in the exotic, and Hong Kong is exotic for us in Southern California, but this is some type of Shield Bug, a True Bug. Beautiful insect though.
.

Letter 11 – Shield Bug

 

Subject: Identifying bug
Location: SW Florida
October 24, 2015 8:06 am
Hello,
I am SO thankful for this site! I have found this bug on my farm that I’m hoping you can identify for me.
Thanks so much!
Signature: Adam

Shield Bug
Shield Bug

Dear Adam,
We quickly identified your Shield Bug in the family Scutelleridae as
Orsilochides guttata thanks to images posted to BugGuide where the host plants are listed as ” Ipomoea pes-caprae (Convolvulaceae), Croton capitatus (Euphorbiaceae)” and the type locality of Georgia indicates it is a native species.  It is also pictured on the Central Florida Critter of the Day site.

Letter 12 – Shield Bug from Brazil

 

Subject: Our black/orange friend from São Paulo, Brazil
Location: Sao Paulo, Brazil
April 9, 2016 4:14 pm
Hello,
We really would like to identify our little friend from the image.
Photo taken in São Paulo, Brazil.
Signature: David Lynch

Shield Bug:  Pachycoris torridus
Shield Bug: Pachycoris torridus

Dear David,
We quickly located a Shield Bug on Insetologia that greatly resembles your individual, but it is green instead of black.  We tried researching that name, and we found this image on FlickR that looks like a very good match.  Images on Biodiversidade Teresopolis indicate this is a highly variable species.  This image on FlickR documents the maternal behavior of some species in the family.

Letter 13 – Shield Bug from Costa Rica

 

Subject:  A mystery Shield Bug in Costa Rica
Geographic location of the bug:  San Ramon, Costa Rica
Date: 01/20/2018
Time: 01:01 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this bug in a bromeliad leaf. It’s so pretty and I wanted to find out what he was. Thanks!
How you want your letter signed:  Irene Dickinson

Shield Bug

Dear Irene,
This really is a beautiful Shield Bug in the family Scutellaridae, and it is quite apparent why in parts of the world, Shield Bugs are called Jewel Bugs, notably Australia, as this Queensland Museum posting indicates.  Alas we were not having any luck locating images online of white Shield Bugs from Costa Rica, so we turned to our own archives where we have an image posted of a Spotted Shield Bug,
Pachycoris torridus, from Costa Rica that looks similar but is quite different in both colors and markings.  We thought perhaps your individual might be in the same genus.  We were actually shocked to learn it is the same species, based on this image from Project Noah.  According to Neotropical Entomology there is much variation in both colors and markings for this species.

Shield Bug

Letter 14 – Shield Bug from China

 

Back to the future bug
Location:  Yunnan, China
December 4, 2012
Hello Bugman!
I encountered this fabulous neon hemipteran while doing a Habitat build in Yunnan, China near Pu’er. My guess was it’s some kind of shield bug but wanted your expert opinion and maybe a species name. I feel like it should be something like Cyndii lauperesqueae.
Cheers!
Marian Lyman Kirst

Shield Bug is a nice Insect Accessory

Dear Marian,
We agree that this is a Shield Bug, but our initial internet search did not turn up any matches.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to assist in a species identification.  We are obsessed with the complimentary color scheme of your nail polish and the Shield Bug, so we have tagged this posting as a Buggy Accessory.  In the future, please use our standard submission form as it makes our posting life so much easier.

Possible Identification Courtesy of Karl
December 14, 2012
Hi Daniel and Marian:
This one may be a toss-up. I thought I had it when I came across several photos of Poecilocoris sp. and Poecilocoris rufigenis that appeared to be a close match. Further digging, however, turned up numerous images of the Giant Jewel Bug (Eucorysses grandis) that looked just as good. The latter species is wide spread in Asia, occurring in at least Japan, China, Taiwan, Thailand, India and Java. I believe Eucorysses grandis is the currently accepted name but it also shows up under the synonyms Cimex grandis and Chrysocoris grandis. If I had to choose I would probably go with Eucorysses grandis as the correct identification, but I can’t be certain. Regards.  Karl

Thanks for the research Karl.

Letter 15 – Shield Bug from Costa Rica

 

Subject: Beetle ID
Location: Costa Rica – Monteverde region
July 5, 2012 10:17 am
Hello,
For hours I’ve now been trying to get an ID on this nice beetle but I still am standing nowhere. My best guess is that it’s a member of the Chrysomelidae, but even of that I’m not sure. I saw it in Costa Rica (Monteverde Region) in November. It was around 2cm large, although I’m very bad at guessing sizes. Maybe you can help me? I would already be very happy with an ID on family level. Thanks!
Signature: Sincerely, Stefanie

Shield Bug

Hi Stefanie,
This is not a Beetle.  It is a Shield Bug in the family Scutelleridae.  We are not having much luck finding an exact match, but it closely resembles the Spotted Shield Bug,
Pachycoris torridus, which is pictured on Project Noah.  We cannot say for certain if it is the same species since there is often much variation in the number and size of markings within a species.

Hello,
Thank you so much for your fast reply. I found some more pictures of the species it resembles that look even more similar
(http://www.flickr.com/photos/theactionitems/6912741301/in/set-72157629089500575/ ).
I’m very happy with the info!
Cheers,
Stefanie

Letter 16 – Shield Bug from Malaysia: Mucanum patibulum

 

What’s That Bug? i/d help required
Location: Panti Forest, Johor, Malaysia
April 3, 2012 3:54 am
Hi
I came across this weirdly shaped bug. Would be grateful if someone can help with the i/d. So far my surfing has not surfaced anything even remotely alike.
thanks!
Signature: rgds lpb

Shield Bug: Mucanum patibulum

Dear rgds lpb,
My, this is an unusual looking True Bug.  We did a web search of Heteroptera and Malaysia and quickly identified your Shield Bug as
Mucanum patibulum on the Heteroptera, un site pour les punaises.  There is an additional photo on the Canon Digital Photography Forum website devoted to Shield Bugs. 

Good morning Daniel
Many, many thanks for the i/d and links. Most appreciated
btw just curious, which country are you emailing from?
regards
Ms Lim Poh Bee

You are welcome Ms Lim Poh Bee,
The offices of What’s That Bug? are located in Los Angeles, California.

Letter 17 – Shield Bug from Mexico: Augocoris species

 

Subject:  What is this bug – Beetle?
Geographic location of the bug:  Jalisco, Mexico
Date: 04/04/2021
Time: 11:56 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this guy in my garden. It’s size is what first caught my attention. I took it’s picture but did not, unfortunately take a measurement. It is about 8 to 10 times larger than an average Ladybug (which I thought it might be some giant species of at first). I wanted to find out if it was a beneficial insect or if it was going to do damage to my garden. No one I know seemed to know what it was from the picture (except a lot of people thought it was some kind of Ladybug as well). I did relocate it to a wild area near my house since I did not want to destroy it. Hopefully you can help me solve the mystery of it’s identity.
How you want your letter signed:  Mario L Pardillo

Shield Bug: Augocoris species

Dear Mario,
This is not a Beetle.  It is a True Bug in the family Scutelleridae, commonly called Shield Bugs or Jewel Bugs.  We believe based on images posted to ResearchGate and to iNaturalist that it is in the genus
Augocoris, possibly Augocoris illustris.  That species is listed on BugGuide, though the individuals are highly variable, ranging from pure orange to pure white, and judging by this image of a mating pair on BugGuide, they are also sexually dimorphic.  The food plant listed on BugGuide is Chrysophyllum oliviforme, and regarding your concerns about it being damaging to your garden, we believe that as a native species, it has predators that will keep it in check and you should not worry unless you find large numbers on individual plants.

Shield Bug

Letter 18 – Shield Bug from Singapore

 

Subject:  Bug with distinct markings
Geographic location of the bug:  Singapore
Date: 10/31/2017
Time: 09:46 PM EDT
This bug flew into my room in the late evening. It is a pretty bug with distinct markings. Any idea what is it? Thanks!
How you want your letter signed:  YT

Shield Bug

Dear YT,
We quickly identified your Shield Bug as
Cantao ocellatus thanks to the Bugs and Insects of Singapore site where it states:  “They are often found on the native plant, balek angin, Mallotus paniculatus.  I had seen this colourful shield bug twice, at the forest edge of Rifle Range Road and a canal in Jurong Woods.”  The species is also pictured on iNaturalist and on Macau Biodiversity where it states:  “Shield bug, reddish or ochre in color with variable number of black or yellow spots and a dark with metallic sheen stripe along the central line of the head. The legs and antennae are also blueish-green with metallic sheen. It can be found on the top of trees, such as Malottus paniculatus.”

Dear Bugman,
Thank you so much for the prompt reply!
Best wishes,
Yueat Tin

Letter 19 – Shield Bugs in Decorative Mounting

 

Subject:  Pretty Mystery Beetles
Geographic location of the bug:  Unknown
Date: 05/11/2018
Time: 12:32 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  A friend who is a collector was gifted this by a friend, and before I go on, I just want to specify that the friend who collects always makes sure the creatures died naturally, or humanely if not naturally (ie severely deformed & no quality of life, euthanized humanely etc), and is an animal lover, but as this was gifted to him, he is unsure of its origins in this instance, but I hope that does not dissuade you from identifying these fascinatingly beautiful beetles if possible…
How you want your letter signed:  Pam

Shield Bugs in decorative Mounting

Dear Pam,
These are not beetles.  They are Shield Bugs in the order Scutellaridae.  Without a country of origin, it will be difficult to determine an exact species, but they do resemble the individual in this FlickR posting that be believe was taken in Portugal.  The decorative presentation is reminiscent of Victorian displays.

Letter 20 – Shield Bugs or Jewel Bugs from Singapore

 

shiny stinkbug colony
Sun, Jan 18, 2009 at 8:49 AM
dear bugman
I found a bunch of stinkbugs huddled on a leaf in a mangrove swamp.Could you help me identify them?Why are they huddled together?Are they laying eggs?
Thanks
Curious
Singapore

Jewel Bugs
Jewel Bugs

Dear Curious,
In our opinion, there are Shield Bugs or Jewel Bugs in the family Scutelleridae, not Stink Bugs in the family Pentatomidae. Interestingly, the closest image we could locate online is on the Guide to the Mangroves of Singapore website, and the matching insects are identified as Calliphara nobilis in the Family Pentatomidae and indicates: “Larvae are found only on Excoecaria agallocha, feeding on developing seeds, but adults can be abundant in gregarious swarms beneath any large leaves (e.g., Rhizophora spp.) and disperse with a loud buzzing when disturbed.” The plant that is mentioned as the larval food, Excoecaria agallocha or Buta-Buta, looks identical to the plant leaf in your photo. W
e tried searching that name, and found a mounted specimen on an Australian Government website, but the colors are different and the spots are larger and the family is identified as Scutelleridae. The spot size may be variable and the colors may fade with death. An untranslated Asian website has many images of the species, and other than being much greener than your image, they look remarkably similar.  Sadly, the species is not represented on one of these lovely stamps.

Jewel Bugs
Jewel Bugs

Update: April 2, 2011
We just posted a new letter and consequently, we have identified these Jewel Bugs as Mangrove Stink Bugs,
Calliphara nobilis.

Letter 21 – Shield Bug from Nicaragua

 

Subject: Black bug with yellow markings…
Location: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
July 8, 2012 3:54 pm
Hello Bugman,
last one for today 😉 I’ve been looking for ages for that bug, & can’t find it anywhere… It looks like a beetle… It’s another rescue from my pool.
Thanks!
Signature: PunkRockGirl

Subject: how to do a search?
July 8, 2012 2:46 pm
Dear Bugman!
I have been “bugging” you 😉 with lots of “what’s that bug?” message lately & I thought maybe it would help me if I could get some pointers from you on the BEST way to perform a search on your site? Right now for exemple I am looking for a black beetle with yellow dots on the back & yellow stripes on the head… if I write that in the Search box, I get a lot of things unrelated so I am probably doing it wrong… Can you help?
Thanks!!
PRG
Signature: Guylaine Madden

Shield Bug

Dear PunkRockGirl,
This is not a beetle.  It is a True Bug, but we are not even certain of the family.  We would guess a Shield Bug in the family Scutelleridae.  We will post this image and hopefully one of our readers will be able to assist in the identification.
The best way to use our search engine is to type in a few key words.  This doesn’t work as well on our site with insects not from North America because they are not as well represented.  Knowing the order really helps.  We know you spent a great deal of time trying to identify this True Bug because you incorrectly believed it to be a beetle.

Karl provides an indetification
July 15, 2012
It is a Shield Bug (Scutelleridae), probably in the genus Chelysomidea.  Photos and information are hard to find, but it looks very similar to C. scurrilus. Older names include Pachycoris scurrilis and Orsilochus scurrilus (scurrilis and scurrilus appear interchangeably, regardless of genus, but I believe the correct spelling is with a ‘u’). Regards.  Karl

Letter 22 – Shield Bugs from Uganda: Solenosthedium liligerum

 

Subject: bug ID
Location: Uganda
February 12, 2016 9:42 am
Hi,
I found these two on a carcass of a zebra in Ugnada, Africa. Time of year was August. Any ideas what these might be?
Thanks,
Signature: Gideon

Unknown Stink or Shield Bugs
Shield Bugs

Dear Gideon,
We are having a difficult time finding any matching images of your True Bugs which are in the superfamily Pentatomoidea, which includes Stink Bugs and Shield Bugs.  They are not pictured on Some Kenyan Hemiptera and Homoptera, and we could not find them on iSpot.

Update
Thanks to a comment from Cesar Crash, we have matching images from Alamy indicating this is
Solenosthedium liligerum.  There are also several images on iSpot.

Letter 23 – Stink Bug from Belize: Edessa rufomarginata

 

Subject: Stink Bug??
Location: Belize
April 19, 2014 7:02 am
I am thinking this may be a stink bug! What do you think?
The colors are striking!! Light blue, vivid orange and black abdomen. (About 1/2″x1/4″x1/4″). Thank You!
Signature: Reggie

Stink Bug
Stink Bug

Do you have larger files?

Yes! I’ve sent you the originals. I’ve just sharpened them without cropping or size change. ( FYI, The bugs may be a little larger than I quoted. Maybe 3/4″ long instead of 1/2″.) Thanks!

Thanks for resending the images Reggie.  Unfortunately, all you did was crop the originals and the Stink Bug is not any larger in the resent files.  We identified you Stink Bug as Edessa rufomarginata on Flickr, and we verified that on an Asian version of National Geographic.  We also located an image of Edessa rufomarginata in our own archives.

Hi Daniel,
Thank you for going to all that trouble!! It’s wonderful to know what the critter is finally! None of my friends here had any idea what it might be! Sincerely, thank you!
Reggie

Letter 24 – Stink Bug from Belize: Edessa rufomarginata

 

Subject: Turquoise and orange bug
Location: Ambergris Caye, Belize
August 22, 2013 3:01 pm
These beautiful stink-bug shaped bugs were all over this red-edged plant in May, just before the rainy season here in Belize. Could anyone help identify them? No extermination, by the way, here -we left them all live to do their buggy things. I apologize for the quality – I shot it with my cell phone. Thanks
Signature: Richard Todd, EPIC

Stink Bug:  Edessa rufomarginata
Stink Bug: Edessa rufomarginata

Dear Richard,
This really is a beautiful Stink Bug.  We quickly identified it as
Edessa rufomarginata on FlickR, and then we verified that on Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Thank you Daniel. You do very fast work, despite your disclaimers. I realize you cannot make everyone happy with a limited staff.

Letter 25 – Stink Bug from Madagascar

 

Subject: Madagscar Beetle/Bug sp. 2
Location: Isalo NP, Madagascar
March 10, 2013 5:26 pm
Hi,
here is another beetle that I can’t ID. I hope you can help me. I think it was some 2 cm long.
Signature: Kristian

Stink Bug
Stink Bug

Hi Again Kristian,
This is not a beetle.  It is a True Bug and we believe it is a Stink Bug in the family Pentatomidae.  We found two matching images online that agree it is
Agaeus bicolor, however, we cannot substantiate that identification with any credible websites.  The matching images we found are on Dijitalimaj and Jungle Dragon and both list the location as Madagascar as well.

Letter 26 – Stink Bug from Portugal

 

6 legged bug with distintive red pattern on the back
Sun, Mar 29, 2009 at 2:34 AM
I’ve never seen this bug. My parents don’t recognize it.
The bug’s body is 7 (+/-1)mm long and has a well defined red pattern on the back.
I’ve found 2 in the kitchen at spring start. The weather was dry, cold and windy for 2 days after 15 days of (beautiful) warm spring days.
thanks for the help !
Francisco
Northern Portugal

Stink Bug from Portugal
Stink Bug from Portugal

Sun, Mar 29, 2009 at 3:45 AM
Found it !
The photos matches almost exactly the Eurydema ornatum
http://www.britishbugs.org.uk/heteroptera/Pentatomidae/Eurydema_ornatum.html
The links on your site where precious.
Many thanks.
Francisco

Hi Francisco,
We are quite pleased that you were able to properly identify your Stink Bug using our site and links.  This is relevant right now because for some reason, our less than ideal internet provider, Time Warner, is far from consistent with our service.  It has taken us over a half an hour to do this one posting.  We hope our readership will bear with us since we cannot answer our mail as this is taking way too much time right now.

Letter 27 – Stink Bug from Portugal

 

Identify bug
Location: Near Lisbon, Portugal
January 14, 2011 10:51 am
Hi bugman,
I just found this bug today. I was trying to identify it but with no success.
Can you help me?
Thanks a lot
Signature: Pedro Sanches

Stink Bug

Hi Pedro,
This is some species of Stink Bug in the family Pentatomidae, but we haven’t the time at the moment to research the exact species.  We will return to that task later today.

Letter 28 – Stink Bug from Spain: Carpocoris mediterraneo

 

Subject: Bug in Spain
Location: Viana, Navarre, Spain (amongst the vineyards)
July 27, 2013 8:43 am
Hi, I was out taking photos of bugs etc and came across this unusual one in the pic. I can’t find a pic of him on Google anywhere. Any ideas?
Thanks
Signature: Diem Burden

Stink Bug:  Carpocoris mediterraneo
Stink Bug: Carpocoris mediterraneo

Hi Diem Burden,
This is a Stink Bug in the family Pentatomidae.  We quickly found a match on TrekNature for
Carpocoris mediterraneo, and then we found a second image also on TrekNature.

Letter 29 – Stink Bug from Hawaii

 

Subject: Green beetle?
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
January 5, 2017 3:17 am
This bug was on my ceiling. It was difficult to pry off (felt like ripping off velcro) and appeared to have green insides, despite being originally brown/gray in color.
Signature: Kristin

Stink Bug

Dear Kristin,
This is NOT a beetle.  It is a Stink Bug in the family Pentatomidae, and we are uncertain of the species.

Thank you Daniel for responding to me so quickly! Do I need to be concerned about this stink bug? As in do they bite or feed on blood or did he just kind of accidentally get into my house and his food source is more outside? If that makes sense..
Kristin

Hi again Kristin,
While we admit that Stink Bugs might be capable of biting a person, that would not be a normal occurrence.  There are some Predatory Stink Bugs that feed on other insects, most Stink Bugs have mouths adapted to piercing the surface of plants and sucking the fluids they find in the stems, leaves, blossoms and fruits.

Hi Daniel,
Oh wow that’s interesting! Thank you so much again for the information! Take care!
Kristin

Letter 30 – Stink Bug from South Africa

 

Subject: Please Help
Location: Ceres South Africa
January 17, 2016 6:28 am
Please help me to identify this bug.
We have got an infestation of these bugs.
Your assistance would be very much appreciated!
Signature: dont mind

Stink Bug
Stink Bug

This is a Stink Bug in the family Pentatomidae, and our identification was negatively impacted because one of our best sources for South African identifications, iSpot, is currently offline.  We found a matching image on Biodiversity Explorer identified as Antestiopsis orbitalis, but there is no other information.  Project Noah also has a matching image.  We found the most information on the Plantwise Knowledge Bank where the host plants is listed as coffee.  Perhaps you grow coffee nearby.  Damage to plants is noted as “Economic losses can occur as follows:
Losses due to the shedding of the young fruits. These losses are difficult to quantify.
Losses due to the occurrence of the fungus Nematospora spp. (Endomycetales) in the fruit following Antestiopsis wounding.
Losses due to infested beans which are the most significant. The percentage of infested beans is very variable, from 10 to 32% or more without treatment.
Moreover, in the great lakes area of East Africa, arabica coffee can develop an undesirable taste known as ‘peasy’, ‘goût de pomme de terre (GPDT)’ or ‘erbsig’. This reduces the quality of the commercial coffee. The taste is due to a bacterium belonging to the family of Enterobacteriaceae which has not yet been fully identified. Studies carried out in Burundi by Bouyjou et al. (1999) showed a link between the number of beans affected by the bug and the percentage of cups with the ‘peasy taste’. This work showed that protection against
A. orbitalis made it possible to obtain a significant reduction in infested beans as well as a lower rate of tainted cups.”  We do not provide extermination advice, but there are suggestions on the Plantwise Knowledge Bank

Dear Daniel
Thank you so very much for the info.
Any idea if it would bite humans?
Kind regards
Reuben Roux

Hi Reuben,
We once heard it stated that “if it has a mouth, it might bite” but we feel getting bitten by a Stink Bug is highly unlikely.

Letter 31 – Stink Bug from US Virgin Islands is probably Runibia caribeana

 

Subject: Orange and Black Pentatomid?
Location: US Virgin Island
March 22, 2016 9:57 am
Hello, I was recently on a study abroad course to the VI and took a few pictures of the insect I found there. I haven’t been able to find any resources on identifying what I found (especially since I only have a few pictures instead of pined specimens). If there is any chance you could identify this bug for me?
Signature: Brandon Claridge

Stink Bug
Stink Bug

Dear Brandon,
The closest match we were able to find to your individual is this image on FlickR of
Euryderma ventralis, but the markings are different.  Perhaps one of our readers will have better luck.

Stink Bug
Stink Bug

Letter 32 – Shield Bug from China

 

Subject: Chinese bug
Location: Anshun, China
November 20, 2016 10:50 pm
Saw this bug in Anshun, China in October. Cicadas were singing but this was the only bug I could find. Thanks for keeping up this great site.
Signature: Mark

Stink Bug
Shield Bug

Dear Mark,
This is a Stink Bug or Shield Bug in the superfamily Pentatomoidea, but alas, we have not found a conclusive visual match online.  Perhaps one of our readers will have better luck with a species identification.

Identification Courtesy of Karl
Hello Daniel and Mark:
I believe your bug is in a related family, the Shield Bugs (Acanthosomatidae). The genus is probably Acanthosoma, and it looks very similar to A. labiduroides. Since it lacks the long tail projections that are typical for males, I would say it is a female. Regards. Karl

Letter 33 – Stink Bug from Mexico: Edessa species

 

Subject: Found a weird bug apparently struggling
Location: Guanajuato México
December 11, 2016 1:08 pm
I live right on the middle of Mexico and i found this guy in my patio. It’s trying to get up, i helped him a couple times but i dont know if there is something wrong with his legs or what he may be needing, never seen this before, maybe family with chinches? He must be the size of my thumb
Signature: Intriguedly yours

Stink Bug
Stink Bug

Try as we might, we have been unable to find a visual match to your Stink Bug in the family Pentatomidae online.  Perhaps one of our readers will have better luck with an identification to the genus or species level.

Karl Identifies Stink Bug
Hi Daniel and Intriguedly yours:
It looks like Edessa sp.; probably E. reticulata. Edessa is a very large genus with many similar species, but I think E. reticulata is a pretty close match to the posted image. Regards, Karl

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.

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

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

  • Piyushi Dhir

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

29 thoughts on “Where Do Stink Bugs Come From? Unraveling the Mystery”

  1. Much of this information came from the book Man Eating Bugs: The Art and Science of Eating Insects, by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio. Check it out, it’s very inspiring! 🙂

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  2. I have seen the same bug in some of my plants in Mt.Dora Florida. I have several pictures and look exactly like the ones submitted fro the person in North Carolina. It’s a softer looking bug than the ones you identified.

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  3. No excuse because it’s organic!! The farmer STILL has to be held accountable! I found one in mine this morning too, in my “ready to eat, triple washed spinach”

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    • I found a green stink bug tonight in my Sprouts organic baby spinach, which is supposedly triple-washed. It was crawling slowly across my salad!

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