Stink bugs are infamous for their offensive odor. Some of the stink bug species are pests that can damage crops.
As the name rightly suggests, stink bugs are insects that emit a foul smell, which is believed to be their defense mechanism. These insects belong to the super family Pentatomoidea in the order Hemiptera. The most common species is the brown marmorated stink bug, which is also considered as an agricultural pest. The term stink bug is mainly used to refer to the brown marmorated stink bug, as it is commonly found in many regions. However, there are many other similar species. The irony lies in the fact that, while some stink bug species are pests, some others are found to feed on pests.
There are thousands of stink bug species across the globe. While most of them are found to be dull or pale in color (brown or gray), there are some species that are black, with flashy markings in different colors and color combinations. The body color of these insects is also intended for camouflaging. Even the flashy colors are like warning signs for predators who are averse to their stinky smell.
A stink bug has a body length of around six to fifteen millimeters. The body of this insect is divided into three parts – head, thorax, and abdomen. It has a tough and strong exoskeleton that protects the insect. The head sports two compound eyes, and each eye contains numerous lenses. It has two antennae that are located between the eyes, and these structures allow the insects to touch, and sense different smells. The middle part of the body is called thorax and the wings (some species have wings) and legs are attached to this section. Most of its vital organs are located in the abdominal part. Even the breathing holes are found in this part.
The most prominent stink bug trait is their foul smell, which is released when they are threatened. In fact, these insects have two glands in their thorax, which secrete a foul-smelling liquid, whenever they are disturbed. It is said even their taste is offending for many predators. Studies show that they attract mates with some odors and sounds (created by fluttering of wings or rubbing of legs). While most of them are found to feed on plants, there are some species that feed on other insects. Stink bugs have special needle-like mouth parts for sucking the sap of the plants, juice of fruits, or the body fluids of their prey. Unlike other insects, their metamorphosis consists of three stages. The nymphs take almost a month to get transformed to adults.
How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs
These bugs are not viewed as a nuisance, unless they are in large numbers. Stink bug infestation may occur during winters, as these insects look for a warmer environment. Even though they are said to be harmless, stink bugs may inflict bites, and may also release an offensive smell, when threatened. They can be controlled with strong pesticides, as mild ones may not serve the purpose. You may also contact pest control professionals to tackle this problem.
However, application of strong chemicals is not advisable for homes with kids and pests. In such cases, you may resort to other ways to get rid of stink bugs. Some people vacuum these bugs and flush them; or use soap water to kill stink bugs. Spraying nicotine water solution is said to be somewhat effective in controlling stink bugs on tomatoes and other plants. But make sure to wash such vegetables thoroughly before use.
In short, it is always better to prevent stink bugs from gaining entry into your house, by sealing the cracks and crevices, and by keeping the windows and doors close. However, in case of heavy infestation, go for appropriate pest control measures.