Field Guide     Pest Management     Stink Bugs

Stink Bugs

CROP IMPACTS: apples, blackberries, corn, green peppers, lima beans, peaches, soybeans and tomatoes

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Family: Pentatomidae (shield bugs)

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About Stink Bugs

Stink bugs get there name from the unpleasant odor that they release after they are crushed, or when they are under threat and need to protect their homes. There are 2 main varieties of stink bugs, brown stink bugs and green stink bugs. They are most active when temperatures go above 21˚C. All varieties of stink bugs leave yellow to brown blotches underneath the skin of the fruits, vegetables and legumes they eat. You will know your plants have been damaged by stink bugs if the skin does not peel well. Tomatoes damaged by stink bugs do not have to be thrown out; they are fine to make tomato paste. Finally, when stink bugs feel they are threatened they will bite, which typically induces painful swelling and redness of the skin.

Reproduction

During the summer months, females typically lay a total of 400 eggs that are organized in 20 to 30 clusters on the bottom side of plant leaves. These eggs will hatch 4 to 5 days later and the nymphs will start to feed. Young stink bugs will undergo a few series of molts until they are grown adults in the fall.

Life cycle

Fully mature stink bugs can survive for several months to a year. They typically mate in May and throughout the spring months, when they have emerged from hibernation.

Stink Bugs Identification and habitat:

Identification

An adult stink bug has a rounded body that is shield-shaped with either pointed or rounded shoulders, growing to about 1.3 to 1.9cm long. Their heads are comparatively smaller in size related to their bodies. They have mouthparts that are tube-like beaks called rostrums. Their rostrums have 4 sharp, thin needles in it which are attached to their heads. Along with the rostrums, stink bugs have 2 antler segments sitting on both sides of their heads. Located on stink bugs backs are a pair of wings that are membranous at the tip and hard at the base, overlapping on their backs when they are folded. Stink bugs have 6 legs with the stink glands located in the middle of the first and second pair of legs.

Stink Bug Varieties Brown Stink Bug

Brown stink bugs were originally found in the western hemisphere but have now become a major pest problem in agricultural fields across North America. Their bodies are predominantly a dark brown colour with alternating dark to light bands across their legs and antlers. Here is a list of Latin and alternative names brown stink bugs go by:

  • - Euschistus servus
  • - Halyomorpha halys

Green Stink Bug

Green stink bugs are solid light green in colour. Along all edges of the face and body of this particular variety of stink bug is an orange to yellow line. Here is a list of Latin and alternative names green stink bugs go by:

  • - Acrosternum
  • - Chinavia hilaris
  • - Nezara hilaris
  • - Acrosternum hilare - Pentatoma hilaris
  • - Acrosternum hilare (Say)
  • - Chinavia halaris (Say)

Stink Bug Habitat

From the beginning of spring until the end of summer stink bugs may be living in your crops. They can be found eating apples, blackberries, corn, green peppers, lima beans, peaches, soybeans and tomatoes. The time to be concerned about stink bugs is July through to harvest. Stink bugs can predominately be found in cereal or forage crops and have been known to move to surrounding tomatoes fields after these crops have dried up or have been harvested.

At the end of the harvest season or late summer, early fall, adult stink bugs begin to gather in homes through cracks and other openings. They will find an appropriate place like chimneys, windows, door frames and walls in hopes of seeking shelter for the winter months. That being said, stink bugs will not damage the structural integrity of your home. When spring comes around, stink bugs become more active and may begin to emerge into living areas of homes.

Stink Bugs Prevention and Control Methods

Prevention

Eradicating stink bugs can be quite difficult due to the fact that they have very few natural enemies and can tolerate some pesticides that kill other unwanted pests. One of the best ways to deal with stink bugs is to prevent them. To prevent stink bugs from entering your house, seal cracks and replace damaged screens on windows, doors, over roof vents and gable vents.

Cultural Control

If stink bugs have entered into your home, vacuuming them up and immediately throwing the bag out can be an effective cultural control method. Hand picking them is also an option if done early in the mornings when stink bugs are moving slow.

In gardens and agricultural areas, eradicate all weeds such as little mallow, mustards and Russian thistle. This will help reduce overwintering hosts for stink bugs around fields that are going to be planted with tomatoes in the spring.

Chemical Control

For improved chemical control of stink bugs make sure to apply chemical via ground equipment to have good canopy penetration of insecticides due to the fact that the majority of stink bugs are located on the ground throughout the day. You can also use air-assist sprayers with hollow-cone nozzles to increase the chemical penetration of the plant canopy.

If you are looking for chemical control of stink bugs in your home, it is suggested that you apply it around possible entry ways. Based on what your professional pest management inspector says, early application and reapplication of chemicals may be required to fully treat stink bugs. There are also stink bug sticky traps that can be useful; however, using products containing chemicals indoors is normally not recommended.

If stink bugs have entered your gardens, give a light spray in the infested area of approved insecticides. If stink bugs have infested fields, applying chemicals is often necessary. The crops you are spraying may be dependent on which active ingredient in pesticides you choose to eradicate stink bugs with. A few pesticide suggestions would be B-cyfluthrin, Bifenthrin, Cyfluthrin and Deltamethrin. The best time to apply these pesticides is at dusk and dawn when population is at its highest. It is also important to know that reinvasion of stink bugs into gardens and agricultural areas are possible after pesticide treatments have been done.

Sources

http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/IPM/english/tomatoes/insects/stink-bug.html#advanced

http://www.pestworldforkids.org/pest-guide/stink-bugs/

http://www.orkin.com/other/stink-bugs/

http://www.softschools.com/facts/animals/stink_bug_facts/1249/

http://www.fnanaturesearch.org/index.php?option=com_naturesearch&task=view&id=1171

http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/veg/bean/brown_marmorated_stink_bug.htm

http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/veg/bean/green_stink_bug.htm

https://www.pioneer.com/home/site/us/agronomy/crop-management/soybean-insect-disease/brown-marmorated-stink-bug/

http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/r783300211.html

https://njaes.rutgers.edu/stinkbug/pesticides.asp