When it comes to the insect world, there exists a rather pungent group, namely stink bugs, who are notorious for their distinctive aroma. Such creatures might fail to win any awards for their pleasant fragrance. However, they certainly captivate the curious minds of gardeners and entomologists.
Several types of stink bugs are considered more than a nuisance pest, whereas some species can result in major damage to crops and produce. In this blog, we are going to talk about 10 different types of stink bugs. Keep reading because it will help you in your gardening journey.
What are stink bugs?
Scientifically, the stink bugs are called Pentatomidae. They are an insect family that is recognized for their foul odor, agricultural significance, and distinctive appearance. Stink bugs belong to the order Hemiptera, which is generally called “true bugs.” Now, you might be having questions like what do stink bugs sound like? What bugs look like stink bugs? What is stink bug habitat? This list keeps going on, and that’s why we have come up with a detailed description of stink bugs.
Such bugs can vary in size but stink bugs generally measure between 1/2 to 3/4 inches in length. They are often called shield bugs because they have body-like shield shapes. Stink bug’s coloration can range from green and brown to several shades of mottled patterns. They have piercing-sucking mouthparts that can be used for extracting juices from plants, and there are several segments in their antennae.
Do you know what are their most notorious characteristics? It’s the foul odor of stink bugs. Whenever they are crushed or threatened, they start emitting an unpleasant and pungent odor as a defense mechanism. Such odor is likened to that of decaying or rotting vegetables, which plays a key factor role in their protection against predators. There are specialized glands that are located on their abdomen’s underside, and that’s the place from where scent is produced.
Stink bugs are not considered loud sound-producer insects. Instead, they are known as silent insects. But when they get threatened or disturbed, some of their species can produce a high-pitched, soft buzzing or hissing noise with the help of expelling air through the tiny openings present in the abdomen. Generally, this sound works like a defensive mechanism for deterring predators.
They are herbivorous insects that can feed on a range of plants, comprising crops such as fruits, corn, and soybeans. Stink bugs use their needle-like mouthparts for piercing plant tissues and extracting sap. This can result in damage to crops. During the fall, when the temperature drops, stink bugs look for shelter in buildings and homes and turn household pests. However, during the warmer months, they are mainly found feeding on plants.
Such bugs can be found in several habitats, ranging from gardens and agriculture fields to urban areas and forests. Due to their feeding habits, they are problematic in agricultural settings, which can result in economic losses and crop damage. However, in urban areas, they enter buildings and homes to seek shelter and warmth during the colder months.
Generally, the life cycle of stink bugs consists of several stages like egg, nymph, and adult. Clusters of eggs are laid by females on the stems of plants and undersides of leaves. After that, the eggs hatch into nymphs, which resemble the wingless and smaller versions of adults. They have to go through several molts but develop their wings gradually. According to species, the number of molts can vary. At last, the nymphs mature into adult ones.
How many types of stink bugs are there?
1) Green Stink Bug (Chinavia hilaris)
This shield-shaped and green-colored types of stink bug is mainly found in North America. On their antennae, there are distinct white bands and a rounder shoulder. Green stink bug feeds on a range of crops, potentially resulting in economic losses.
2) Spined Soldier Bug (Podisus maculiventris)
This stink bug is native to North America and is a beneficial predator of insects causing crop damage. On their shoulder, there is a distinctive spine-like protrusion and is brownish along with mottled markings. Usually, farmers encourage the presence of spine soldier bugs for natural pest control.
3) Rice Stink Bug (Oebalus pugnax)
Rice stink bugs are native to North America, and which mainly found in wetland habitats like rice fields. Brownish-green along with a distinctive white spot is present on its wingtips. You can find them on rice, causing damage to your grains.
4) Bronze Orange Bug (Musgraveia sulciventris)
This metallic bronze-colored stink bug is native to Australia. They are pests of citrus trees that just suck sap from fruits and leaves.
5) Brown-winged Stink Bug (Plautia stali)
Such types of stink bugs are found in Asia, mainly in Japan. They have brown wings along with green bodies and can be seen in agricultural fields and gardens. You can spot them feeding on a range of plant species.
6) Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (Halyomorpha halys)
This invasive species is native to Asia and has spread to Europe and North America. You can identify them by their marbled brown coloring and alternating dark and light banda present on the antenna. They can damage your wife’s range of crops and while seeking shelter indoors, turn out to be household nuisance.
7) Southern Green Stink Bug (Nezara viridula)
Southern green stink bugs are native to the southern United States. They are green with yellow or orange markings. Generally, they are known for their role as a pest on crops like soybeans, cotton, etc. This species’s nymphs can be easily distinguished by their bright red coloration.
8) Harlequin Bug (Murgantia histrionica)
Such kind of stink bug can be found in North America, mainly in the eastern U.S. They can recognized by its striking red-orange and black coloration along with diamond-shaped markings. Harlequin bug feeds on plants in the cabbage family, comprising cabbage and broccoli.
9) Red-shouldered Stink Bug (Thyanta custator)
This bug is native to North America and is generally found in weedy and grassy areas. Red-shouldered stink bug features a reddish-brown body along with distinct red shoulders. They feed on a range of plants, comprising sunflowers and legumes.
10) African Cotton Stainer (Dysdercus fasciatus)
Such stink bugs are known for black and red coloration. You can spot them feeding on the cotton crops present in Africa.
Such kind of olfactory adventurers might have a knack for causing a stink, but they even play a huge role in our ecosystem. So, whenever next time you encounter this bug, just make sure that beneath that noxious odor lies a world of wonder and intrigue. It’s time to embrace the stink for another chapter in the natural world’s diverse tapestry.