What are stink bugs?
Stink bugs, also known as shield bugs, are members of the family Pentatomidae and order Hemiptera. To a scientist, they are the only true “bugs”. They are named such because they have small glands on the thorax that release foul smell when disturbed, thus repulsing their probable predators.
Generally, stink bugs can be seen in brown, grey, and green colorations. Their body length ranges from 6 to 13 mm characterized with a seemingly armored shell known as scutella, hence the name shield bugs. Stink bugs don’t chew. Instead, they use their tube-like beaks attached to the head (called rostrums) to suck on plants and fruits. Like any true bug, they also possess two pairs of front and back wings.
What do Stink Bugs eat?
Most stink bugs feed either on insects or leaves and juices of plants. They use their rostrums to suck nectars, sap, or juice in seeds, fruits, leaves, and flowers. Others get nourishment both from plants and tiny insects.
Many species of stink bugs are considered agricultural pests. They form huge populations that feed on crops, orchards, and vegetations, entailing great devastation. Among these include cotton, ornamental trees and plants, soybeans, weeds, and corn. Some were even able to develop resistance to many pesticides. But not all stink bugs are destructive. Some species are highly beneficial as they eat pests of crops such as the Mexican and Japanese beetles.
Where are Stink Bugs found?
With over 200 known species, stink bugs exist in different parts of the world. They prefer warmer climates and are widespread in the tropical regions. They don’t live long in cold areas and are most active between the seasons of spring and fall. Stink bugs have developed a mechanism in protecting themselves during unfavorable conditions such as winter. They hide under piles of leaves or beneath the ground to keep them warm. In a normal day, stink bugs are seen in fields and agricultural lands with wide vegetations since this is where they get their food.
Interesting Stink Bug facts
- The front wings of the stink bug are so thin you can see through them.
- The stinky fluid smells so bad that many birds spit out the bugs right after eating them.
- Stink bugs rub their legs and wings to produce sound when attracting mating partners.
- Stink bugs love heat and light.
Watch this cool movie of a stink bug in action!