What Are Stink Bugs?

What Are Stink Bugs?

Stink Bugs

Stink bugs, scientifically known as Pentatomidae, are a family of insects characterized by their distinctive shield shape and foul-smelling defensive secretion. They are typically brown or green in color and have a triangular or pentagonal shape when viewed from above. Stink bugs are plant feeders, often found on fruits, vegetables, and ornamental plants, where they pierce the surface of the plant and suck out the juices.

When threatened or disturbed, stink bugs release a pungent odor from glands located on their thorax. This odor acts as a deterrent against predators, such as birds and other insects, by making the stink bug unpalatable or unpleasant to consume.

However, if you're facing a stink bug infestation, it's crucial to seek professional help like Alta Pest Control. Stink bugs can be agricultural pests, causing damage to crops by feeding on plant tissues and potentially transmitting plant diseases. Some species of stink bugs have become invasive pests in various parts of the world, posing significant challenges for farmers and gardeners. With Alta Pest Control's expertise, you can effectively manage and mitigate the impact of stink bugs on your crops and plants.

What Kinds of Stink Bugs Are There?

There are numerous species of stink bugs, belonging to the family Pentatomidae. Some of the most common species include:

  • Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (Halyomorpha halys): Originally native to Asia, this stink bug has become an invasive species in many parts of the world, including North America and Europe. It is known for its characteristic brown coloration and its tendency to seek shelter indoors during the cooler months. It is commonly found in homeowners' gardens in the United States.
  • Green Stink Bug (Chinavia hilaris): As the name suggests, this species is typically green in color and is found in various regions worldwide. It feeds on a wide range of crops and plants and can be a significant agricultural pest.
  • Southern Green Stink Bug (Nezara viridula): This species is commonly found in warmer regions, including parts of Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas. It is green with yellow or orange markings and can cause damage to crops such as soybeans, cotton, and various fruits.
  • Harlequin Bug (Murgantia histrionica): Recognizable by its striking black and red coloration, the harlequin bug is native to North and Central America. It feeds primarily on plants in the mustard family, including cabbage, kale, and broccoli, making it a nuisance for gardeners and farmers.
  • Spined Soldier Bug (Podisus maculiventris): Unlike many other stink bugs, the spined soldier bug is beneficial to agriculture as it preys on other insect pests, including caterpillars, beetles, and aphids. It is native to North America and is often used as a biological control agent in pest management programs.

These are just a few examples of the diverse array of stink bug species found worldwide, each with its own unique characteristics and behaviors. If dealing with stink bug infestations in your garden, professional help like Alta Pest Control might be necessary to mitigate their impact.

Are Stink Bugs Harmful To Homeowners?

Stink bugs are generally considered nuisance pests rather than harmful pests to humans. However, they can be harmful in several ways:

  1. Agricultural Damage: Stink bugs can cause significant damage to crops by piercing plant tissues and sucking out the juices. This feeding behavior can lead to reduced crop yields and economic losses for farmers.
  2. Garden Damage: In home gardens, stink bugs can also damage fruits, vegetables, and ornamental plants, leading to aesthetic and economic losses for homeowners.
  3. Indoor Nuisance: During the cooler months, some species of stink bugs may seek shelter indoors, becoming a nuisance to homeowners. They can congregate in large numbers and emit a foul-smelling odor if disturbed or crushed.
  4. Allergic Reactions: While rare, some individuals may experience allergic reactions to stink bug secretions, resulting in skin irritation or respiratory symptoms.
  5. Crop Diseases: In addition to direct feeding damage, stink bugs can also transmit plant diseases, further impacting crop health and productivity.

While stink bugs are not directly harmful to humans in the sense of causing physical harm or transmitting diseases, they can still have detrimental effects on agriculture, horticulture, and overall household comfort. Therefore, effective pest management strategies may be necessary to control stink bug populations and minimize their impact.

Why Do I Have Brown Stink Bugs In My House?

Brown stink bugs, particularly the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (Halyomorpha halys), are often found in houses, especially during the cooler months. There are several reasons why you might have these stink bugs in your house:

  1. Seeking Shelter: Stink bugs are attracted to warm, sheltered spaces as temperatures drop in the fall and winter. They may enter homes through small cracks, gaps around windows and doors, or other openings in search of a protected environment to overwinter.
  2. Accidental Entry: Stink bugs can inadvertently enter homes through open doors, windows, or gaps in screens while individuals are entering or leaving the house. Once inside, they may remain hidden in walls, attics, or other secluded areas.
  3. Attraction to Light: Stink bugs are often attracted to light sources, which can draw them towards illuminated windows or doors. This can increase the likelihood of stink bugs entering your home, especially during the evening hours when indoor lights are on.
  4. Nearby Infestations: If there are stink bug populations in close proximity to your home, such as in gardens, agricultural fields, or neighboring properties, it's more likely that stink bugs will find their way indoors, especially as temperatures cool.
  5. Overwintering Behavior: Many stink bugs, including the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, exhibit overwintering behavior, seeking refuge indoors to survive the colder temperatures. Once inside, they may remain dormant until temperatures rise again in the spring.

To prevent stink bugs from entering your home, you can take proactive measures such as sealing cracks and crevices, repairing damaged screens, installing weather stripping around doors and windows, and using exterior insecticides or barriers. If you already have a stink bug infestation in your home, you may need to call a pest control professional such as Alta for effective removal and management strategies.

How To Get Rid of Stink Bugs From Your Home With Alta Pest Control

At Alta Pest Control, we provide effective solutions for getting rid of stink bugs from your home. Here's how we can help:

  1. Inspection: Our trained technicians will inspect your property to identify areas where stink bugs are entering your home and where they are congregating indoors.
  2. Exclusion: We'll help seal off entry points that stink bugs are using to enter your home. This may involve caulking cracks and gaps around windows, doors, vents, and utility openings.
  3. Interior Treatment: Our team may apply targeted insecticides or other treatments indoors to eliminate stink bugs hiding within your home. These treatments are typically applied in areas where stink bugs are commonly found, such as attics, basements, and crawl spaces.
  4. Exterior Treatment: We'll apply outdoor perimeter treatments to create a barrier around your home, deterring stink bugs from entering. These treatments may include residual insecticides or other products designed to repel stink bugs.
  5. Monitoring and Follow-Up: We'll continue to monitor your property for stink bug activity and provide follow-up treatments as needed to ensure effective control.
  6. Education and Prevention: Our team may offer advice on how to prevent future stink bug infestations, such as keeping vegetation trimmed away from the home, sealing potential entry points, and reducing outdoor lighting that attracts stink bugs.

By working with Alta Pest Control, you can trust us to effectively eliminate stink bugs from your home and prevent future infestations, ensuring a pest-free living environment.

Stink Bug FAQs

What is a brown bug that looks like a stink bug?

A brown bug that looks similar to a stink bug is often the Western Conifer Seed Bug (Leptoglossus occidentalis). These bugs are sometimes mistaken for stink bugs due to their similar size, shape, and coloration. Western Conifer Seed Bugs are brown in color and have a shield-shaped body, similar to stink bugs. They also emit a mildly unpleasant odor when disturbed, which contributes to the confusion with stink bugs.

However, unlike stink bugs, Western Conifer Seed Bugs primarily feed on the sap of conifer trees, particularly pine cones, rather than agricultural crops or garden plants. They may enter homes in search of shelter during the cooler months but do not pose the same agricultural threats as stink bugs.

Other bugs that resemble stink bugs include leaf-footed bugs (family Coreidae) and squash bugs (order Hemiptera), which have similar body shapes and coloration but may have distinguishing features such as flattened hind legs or different feeding habits.

How do I get rid of stink bugs permanently?

At Alta Pest Control, we understand the frustration of dealing with stink bugs and the desire to get rid of them permanently. Our experienced technicians conduct comprehensive inspections to identify entry points and nesting areas, developing customized treatment plans tailored to your specific situation. Using targeted insecticides, baits, traps, and exclusion techniques, we eradicate stink bugs at their source both indoors and outdoors. We seal off entry points and implement preventive measures to keep stink bugs from returning, while also providing educational resources and practical tips for long-term pest control. With our commitment to customer satisfaction and ongoing monitoring and maintenance, you can trust Alta Pest Control to ensure a stink bug-free environment for you and your family.

What eats brown stink bugs?

Several natural predators and parasitoids feed on brown stink bugs and other stink bug species. Some of the common predators include:

  1. Birds: Various bird species, such as sparrows, starlings, and robins, feed on stink bugs, including brown stink bugs. Birds can play a significant role in controlling stink bug populations in agricultural areas and natural habitats.
  2. Spiders: Certain spider species, such as orb-weavers and jumping spiders, may prey on stink bugs when they come into contact with their webs or encounter them in their hunting territory.
  3. Praying Mantises: Praying mantises are known to feed on a wide range of insect pests, including stink bugs. They are efficient hunters and can catch and consume stink bugs when given the opportunity.
  4. Assassin Bugs: Assassin bugs are predatory insects that feed on other insects, including stink bugs. They use their sharp mouthparts to pierce and feed on their prey, making them effective natural enemies of stink bugs.
  5. Parasitoid Wasps: Certain species of parasitoid wasps lay their eggs on or inside stink bug eggs or nymphs. When the wasp larvae hatch, they consume the stink bug eggs or nymphs from the inside, ultimately killing them.

While these natural enemies help to keep stink bug populations in check, their impact may vary depending on environmental conditions, habitat suitability, and the abundance of alternative prey.

What is a stink bugs purpose?

The purpose of stink bugs, like most organisms, lies within the context of their ecological role and natural behavior within ecosystems. While stink bugs may be considered pests by humans due to their agricultural and household nuisance, they do serve several ecological functions:

  1. Feeding Role: Stink bugs primarily feed on plant tissues, including leaves, stems, and fruits. While their feeding behavior can be detrimental to crops and garden plants, it also contributes to nutrient cycling and energy transfer within ecosystems.
  2. Prey for Predators: Stink bugs serve as a food source for various natural predators, including birds, spiders, predatory insects, and parasitoid wasps. By being part of the food web, stink bugs help sustain predator populations and contribute to ecosystem balance.
  3. Decomposition: When stink bugs die, their bodies decompose and release nutrients back into the soil, contributing to soil fertility and ecosystem health.
  4. Seed Dispersal: Some stink bug species may play a role in seed dispersal by consuming fruits and then excreting seeds in different locations. This can aid in plant reproduction and dispersal.

While stink bugs may not have a purpose in the same way humans conceptualize goals or intentions, they are integral components of natural ecosystems, interacting with other organisms and influencing ecological processes. As with all organisms, their presence contributes to the overall biodiversity and functioning of ecosystems, even if their interactions with humans can sometimes be challenging.

Why should you not touch stink bugs?

There are several reasons why it's advisable not to touch stink bugs:

  1. Foul Odor: Stink bugs have glands on their thorax that can release a pungent odor when they feel threatened or disturbed. This defensive secretion is intended to deter predators and can be quite unpleasant for humans as well.
  2. Skin Irritation: The defensive secretion of stink bugs can irritate the skin of some individuals, leading to itching, redness, or allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.
  3. Potential Toxins: While the odor emitted by stink bugs is not harmful in itself, some research suggests that the defensive secretion may contain compounds that could be toxic if ingested or if they come into contact with mucous membranes, such as the eyes or mouth.
  4. Spread of Disease: Stink bugs can potentially carry pathogens on their bodies, which could be transmitted to humans through direct contact. While the risk is generally low, it's still advisable to minimize contact with stink bugs, especially if they have been in contact with food or surfaces that humans come into contact with.

Overall, while stink bugs are not inherently dangerous, it's best to avoid handling them directly to prevent any potential irritation, allergic reactions, or exposure to toxins. If you need to remove stink bugs from your home or garden, call Alta Pest Control rather than touching them directly.

How Alta Pest Control Protects Your Home From Pests

All of our treatment plans are customized to your home and yard. We do this to ensure that you get the exact coverage you need to keep your home safe. All of our technicians and inspectors are experts in their field, so you can be sure that you are getting top-tier protection.


One of our expert technicians will inspect every inch of your home and business for pest activity. Then they will create a custom plan based on their findings.

Initial Service

Once your custom plan is created, we will treat your home and yard to give you immediate relief from pests. Then, we will create a boundary around your property to prevent more pests from entering.

Follow Ups

After the initial service, we will conduct regular maintenance to ensure that your pest problems remain solved. We will also conduct free inspections for problem pests, such as termites.

Alta Guarantee

When it comes to pest control, we put our money where our mouth is. If we treat your home, and you're still seeing pests, we'll come back and retreat for free. We'll always have your back.


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