Stink bugs, also known as shield bugs or chust bugs, are a type of insects belonging to the family Pentatomidea of the order Hemiptera. The name Pentatomidea is taken from the Greek words pente, meaning 'five' and tomos that means segment or section. The bug has a shield-shaped body, with thick wings. These bugs come in different colors like dark green, blue, brown, black and gray. Their body is triangular in shape, with three pairs of legs and a pair of antennae. These bugs were first found in east Asia from where they were reported to migrate to the United States.
Classification of Stink Bugs
Every species in the animal kingdom is grouped in order to identify their distinctive characteristics. The insect can be taxonomically classified as:
Facts About Stinkbugs
Stink bugs, aptly named for the distinctive smell it releases from its body, when provoked is a species of insects, which have inhabited the Earth from a very long time. This characteristic of this insect acts as a protective shield against its enemy:
- Scientifically named Nezara viridula, they are also called 'true bugs', because they use their proboscis (an elongated mouth) for feeding.
- The stink bug got its name from the fact that it has a pair of glands in its thorax, which is filled with a foul-smelling liquid. When the stink bug feels a threat to itself or its home, it ejects this liquid as self defense to defend itself from its enemy. This rancid smelling liquid is also used for attracting mates.
- There is a species of stink bug called Brochymena arborea that looks similar to a tree bark. The adaptation technique is so perfect that if this species of stink bug sits on the bark, it can be mistaken for the bark of the tree unless you observe very closely. This helps the stink bug to protect itself from its predators.
- There are over two hundred species that are found in North America. Across the globe, entomologists have identified over 4,700 species in approximately 900 genera.
- The majority of this insect species is strictly herbivorous i.e. they eat only plants. A few species also prey on smaller insects. Some species start their life as herbivores but after a specific point of time they turn into predators and prey on other smaller insects.
- The female stink bug lays about 20 to 30 eggs under a leaf or on stems in neat rows. The young ones are called nymphs and they remain together till they mature into adults. The nymphs resemble the adults in all ways, except that they don't have the outer shield or wings.
- These insects can be found in meadows, fields and other areas where there is abundant vegetation.
- Adult bugs undergo hibernation or winter sleep in order to survive the chilling winters. They nestle together in creeks, under the logs and in crevices during the winter season. In some species, the nymphs also undergo hibernation. The stink bugs can survive up to one year in regions having a warm climate.
- These little bugs love to feed on plants and often pose a threat to them. The green stink bug feeds on developing fruits like tomatoes and peaches. They also attack the cotton plant and destroy the cotton pod.
- Some species also attack the grains like wheat, soybeans and sorghum etc.
- Stink bugs are both advantageous and disadvantageous to the farmers. They attack insects like caterpillars or larvae of beetles that destroy the crops. But some species attack plants and suck the sap, thus destroying the plant.
This was all about stink bugs. If you have an infestation of stink bugs in your garden, call an entomologist or a bug expert, who will help you get rid of these pests.