The stink bug is native to Eastern Asia and was introduced to the United States in the mid-1990s. Getting its name from its tendency of releasing a strong odor when disturbed or crushed, the stink bug is an invasive pest species in the eastern half of the United States, as well as Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, California, Oregon, and Washington.

What do stink bugs look like?

Stink bugs have a distinct shield-shaped body and can be about 2 cm in length. They are speckled grayish-brown in color, and have six legs as well as antennae. The stink bug’s legs extend from the sides, making the bugs appear larger than they are, and the adults have wings that they fold on top of their body when they land.

What are the unique characteristics of stink bugs?

Originally an agricultural pest native to Asia, stink bugs have officially invaded 44 states. In the spring, adult stink bugs reproduce and lay clusters of eggs on the underside of leaves. Depending on the weather, the stink bug life cycle is complete in one year. Though typically only producing one generation per year, warm weather may allow for two or three generations to develop.

Stink bugs feed on a variety of plants. If they are in or around your home, they will feed on ornamental plants or on plants in your garden. For commercial farmers, stink bugs can cause major crop damage as they are known to feed in apple orchards, on blackberry bushes, and more.

What are the habits of stink bugs?

Stink bugs are pests that stick together as a group. In warm weather, the pests will congregate together on plants, sidewalks, or the sunny sides of buildings. As with others, stink bugs start to look for places to overwinter in the fall and by the colder months, have made their way inside of structures through cracks, windows, or even on pets. Once they have found a place they would like to stay for the winter, the bugs will release a pheromone to let others know, which is why if you’ve seen one stink bug in your home, you will likely see more.

What are the risks of having a stink bug infestation?

Stink bugs are an aggravation for homeowners. These bugs aren’t dangerous to humans as they don’t bite, sting, cause structural damage, or spread disease, but they can cause a nuisance with their foul smell.

If you are a farmer, stink bugs have the potential to cause massive damage to your crops. The USDA estimates that stink bugs caused as much as $37 million in damage to U.S. apple orchards in one year alone.