Pest Guide : What Is a Stink Bug?

What You Need to Know About Stink Bugs in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.

Stink bugs are a type of insect that belongs to the family Pentatomidae. They are known for their distinct shield-like shape, ranging in size from 1/2 inch to 1 inch in length. Stink bugs are typically brown or green in color, and they have a characteristic odor that is released when they are disturbed or crushed, hence the name "stink bug."

Stink bugs are considered agricultural pests because they feed on a wide variety of crops such as fruits, vegetables, and grains. They use their sharp mouthparts to pierce the outer layer of plants and feed on their juices, causing damage to the crops. In addition to agricultural damage, stink bugs can also be a nuisance to homeowners as they often invade homes in the fall seeking warmth and shelter.

There are many species of stink bugs found throughout the world. The most common stink bug species in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. is the brown marmorated stink bug. While stink bugs are generally harmless to humans, they can be a nuisance and difficult to control when they infest homes or gardens.

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How to Identify a Stink BugsInfestation

Learn about Stink Bugs in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.

Stink bug from side

The brown marmorated stink bug is a type of stink bug that is native to Asia but has become an invasive species in many parts of the world, including North America and Europe. Here are some characteristics of the brown marmorated stink bug:

  • Size: Adult brown marmorated stink bugs are approximately 1/2 to 3/4 inch (12-17 mm) long.
  • Color: The bugs are brownish-gray in color and have a marbled or mottled pattern on their backs that resembles a "shield." They have alternating light and dark bands on their antennae, and their legs are brown with faint white bands.
  • Shape: Like other stink bugs, the brown marmorated stink bug has a characteristic shield-shaped body. Its body is slightly convex and widest at the shoulders.
  • Odor: When disturbed or crushed, brown marmorated stink bugs emit a strong, unpleasant odor.

Overall, the brown marmorated stink bug is fairly distinctive in appearance, and its shield-shaped body and marbled pattern are usually enough to identify it.

The stink bug is an agricultural pest that feeds on a wide variety of plants. Some of the plants that they commonly feed on include fruits such as apples, pears, peaches, and berries, as well as vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, and beans. They also feed on ornamental plants and crops such as soybeans and corn.

Stink bugs use their sharp mouthparts to pierce the outer layer of the plants and feed on their juices. This can cause significant damage to crops, leading to yield losses and reduced crop quality.

Stink bugs are known to overwinter in homes and buildings, where they seek shelter and warmth during the colder months. In the spring, they emerge and begin to feed on plants, causing damage to crops. They are also found in natural habitats such as forests and meadows, where they feed on wild plants.

We often receive calls from clients about stink bugs in the fall as they try to get into homes and when they come out on warm winter days and when they emerge in springtime.


Common Questions About Stink Bugs

Stink bugs can be a common nuisance in homes, especially during the fall and winter months. Here are some reasons why you might be seeing stink bugs in your home:

  1. Seeking warmth: As the weather cools down, stink bugs may seek shelter in warm places, such as homes or other buildings. They may enter through cracks in windows, doors, or foundations.
  2. Attracted to light: Stink bugs are attracted to light, and may be drawn to lights in and around your home. This can result in them flying or crawling into your home through open windows or doors.
  3. Food sources: If you have plants or crops growing in or around your home, stink bugs may be attracted to them and enter your home in search of food.
  4. Structural damage: Stink bugs can enter your home through cracks or other structural damage, such as damaged siding or roofing.

Stink bugs are not considered to be dangerous to humans, as they do not bite, sting, or transmit diseases. However, they can be a nuisance when they invade homes or gardens in large numbers.

Stink bugs have a defensive mechanism that involves emitting a strong, unpleasant odor when they are threatened or crushed. This odor can be irritating to some people and can cause allergic reactions in rare cases.

Stink bugs can be a problem for agriculture and foliage around your home, as they feed on a variety of crops and can cause damage to plants.

While stink bugs are not harmful to humans, their presence can be a nuisance, especially if they invade your home in large numbers.

Once stink bugs have entered your home, they can be difficult to get rid of. It is important to seal any cracks or gaps in your home's foundation, windows, and doors to prevent them from entering in the first place. If you already have a stink bug infestation, you can try vacuuming them up or using sticky traps to catch them. It is important to avoid crushing stink bugs, as this can release their characteristic odor.

Tips for Preventing Stink Bugs

  • Seal cracks and crevices around the exterior of your home.
  • Make sure that vents have screens to keep out insects.
  • Inspect window screens and repair any holes.
  • Preventative treatments on the exterior of your home can help deter stink bugs

How My Pest Pros Helps Eliminate Stink Bugs

My Pest Pros technicians can help identify areas where stink bugs can try to enter your home. We will treat the exterior of your home to help deter stink bugs from entering. We use EPA-approved products to protect your family and home.

For ultimate protection, our professionals will work with you to find a customized solution for your pests problems, today and tomorrow.

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