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December Blog: Stink Bugs

Stink Bugs are shield-shaped insects. They get their name from their distinctive shield-shaped bodies, which are typically about 1/2 inch long and brown or gray. Some species have markings, such as stripes or spots.

  • Stinky defense: Stink bugs are best known for their ability to emit a foul-smelling odor when they feel threatened. They produce this odor from glands in their abdomen as a defense mechanism to fend off predators. The smell has been described as similar to cilantro, skunk spray, or burnt almonds.
  • Plant pests: Stink bugs are also agricultural pests, as they feed on the juices of fruits, vegetables, and other plants. This can damage the plants and make them unmarketable.
  • Nuisance pests: In the fall, stink bugs often invade homes in search of warm places to spend the winter. They can be a nuisance because of their smell and their tendency to congregate in large numbers.

Here are some additional facts about stink bugs:

  • There are over 6,000 species of stink bugs worldwide, but only a few dozen are considered pests.
  • Stink bugs can fly, but they are not very good at it.
  • Stink bugs are not poisonous to humans, but their odor can irritate the skin and eyes.
  • There are a number of ways to control stink bugs, including traps, insecticides, and exclusion methods.

Should I be afraid of stink bugs?

Whether you should be afraid of stink bugs depends on what you mean by “afraid.” Here’s a breakdown of why they might be considered harmless or bothersome:


  • No bites or stings: Stink bugs don’t bite or sting humans, so they pose no physical threat.
  • Not poisonous: Their foul odor and defensive spray aren’t poisonous and won’t cause health problems.
  • Don’t damage property: Unlike some pests, they won’t chew on furniture or damage your belongings.


  • Unpleasant odor: Their spray can be quite smelly, similar to cilantro, skunk spray, or burnt almonds. This can be unpleasant and linger in the air for a while.
  • Nuisance in large numbers: If they invade your home in large numbers, they can be annoying and disruptive.
  • Plant pests: Though they shouldn’t harm people, they can damage fruits, vegetables, and other plants if they become a pest in your garden.

So, to answer your question directly:

  • You don’t need to be afraid of stink bugs in terms of being harmed physically.
  • You might find them bothersome due to their smell and potential invasion of your home.

Ultimately, how you react to stink bugs is a personal matter. If their presence worries you, you can take steps to manage them, like sealing potential entry points into your home, using traps, or contacting pest control professionals.

Do Stink Bugs carry diseases?

The good news is that no, stink bugs are not known to carry or transmit any diseases to humans. This is true for the most common species, like the brown marmorated stink bug, found in many parts of the world.

While stink bugs may feed on plants and sometimes enter homes, they don’t bite or sting humans, and their defensive chemical spray isn’t harmful. Therefore, there’s no risk of them transferring any pathogens through these means.

Here’s a breakdown of why you can generally relax about disease transmission:

  • No biting or stinging: Stink bugs lack the necessary mouthparts to bite or sting humans, so direct disease transmission through skin puncture is out of the question.
  • No biting of other animals: Unlike some insects that feed on blood, stink bugs primarily feed on plant juices, further reducing the risk of them picking up and transmitting diseases from other creatures.
  • Defensive spray is not infectious. Although stink bugs release a smelly chemical as a defense mechanism, this compound isn’t known to carry or transmit any pathogens.

Of course, if you’re ever concerned about insects or potential disease transmission, it’s always wise to consult with a healthcare professional or pest control expert for specific advice.

Overall, you can mostly let your guard down when it comes to stink bugs and disease. Their main offense, quite frankly, is their pungent odor!

Interesting Facts about Stink Bugs.

Buckle up, bug enthusiasts, because stink bugs are more than just smelly houseguests! Here are some fascinating facts that might make you appreciate (or at least tolerate) these shield-shaped oddities:

1. Global stink bombs: There are over 6,000 stink bug species worldwide, found in every continent except Antarctica. That’s a lot of potential stink!

2. Smelly superpower: Their signature stink isn’t just unpleasant; it’s a powerful defense mechanism. Their abdomens contain glands that release a repulsive odor that deters predators and may even confuse them. Imagine trying to attack a bug that smells like a skunk and gasoline had a bad day! ⛽

3. Vegetarian warriors: While their odor might suggest otherwise, stink bugs are herbivores. They primarily feed on the juices of fruits, vegetables, and other plants, using their needle-like mouthparts to pierce and suck out the good stuff.

4. Egg-laying extravaganza: Female stink bugs are prolific egg-layers, laying up to 400 eggs in their lifetime! These eggs hatch into tiny nymphs that look like miniature versions of the adults, and they grow up fast, reaching adulthood in just a few weeks. Talk about a quick turnaround!

5. Masters of migration: Some stink bug species, like the brown marmorated stink bug, are expert migrators. They can fly long distances in search of food and shelter, often invading homes in the fall as they seek warmth for the winter. So, if you find a bunch of stink bugs hanging out in your attic, don’t be surprised! ✈️

6. Accidental invaders: Despite their agricultural pest status, most stink bugs that end up in our homes are just looking for a warm place to spend the winter. They don’t mean any harm, and they’ll usually leave on their own when spring arrives. Just be careful not to squish them, or you’ll be treated to a full-on olfactory assault!

7. Not all stink bugs stink: While most stink bugs have their signature odor, some species have a milder scent or even no odor at all. So, if you encounter a stink bug that doesn’t stink, consider yourself lucky!

8. Beneficial bug buddies: Some stink bugs are actually beneficial predators, helping to control populations of other harmful insects. So, next time you see a stink bug munching on a pest, give it a little cheer!

9. Stinky superheroes? Believe it or not, stink bugs are being studied for their potential use in pest control. Scientists are exploring ways to harness their odor or even their genes to create new biopesticides that are safe for humans and the environment. Who knew stink bugs could be the future of pest control? ‍


  • Stink bugs have been around for over 100 million years, making them quite the ancient insect lineage.
  • Some cultures around the world even consider stink bugs to be good luck charms!
  • There’s even a stink bug emoji: (though it might not be the most pleasant emoji to use!).

So, the next time you encounter a stink bug, remember that there’s more to them than meets the (smelly) nose. They’re fascinating creatures with a surprising array of adaptations and ecological roles. And who knows, maybe one day they’ll even be our stink-tastic pest-fighting allies!

What can I do to get rid of stink bugs?

Stink bugs can be a smelly nuisance, but there are plenty of ways to manage them without resorting to harmful methods. Here are some safe and effective options to consider:


  • Seal up entry points: Inspect your home for cracks and gaps around windows, doors, and pipes, and seal them with caulk or weatherstripping to prevent stink bugs from getting inside in the first place.
  • Use screens: Install screens on windows and doors to keep them out while still letting in fresh air.
  • Plant deterrents: Certain plants, like mint, lavender, and chrysanthemums, have natural scents that repel stink bugs. Consider planting these around your home or garden.

Trapping and Removal:

  • Light traps: Attract stink bugs with strategically placed light traps, then dispose of them safely.
  • Vacuuming: Carefully vacuum up any stink bugs you find indoors, making sure to empty the vacuum bag or canister afterwards.
  • Soapy water: Submerge captured stink bugs in soapy water to eliminate them without releasing their odor.

Natural Repellents:

  • Essential oils: Spray diluted essential oils like peppermint or citronella around entry points and potential hiding spots.
  • Garlic spray: A homemade spray made from garlic and water can also act as a deterrent.

Professional help:

  • Pest control: If the problem persists, consider consulting a professional pest control service. They can employ targeted methods and ensure long-term control.


  • Avoid harsh chemicals: Don’t use insecticides or other harsh chemicals indoors as they can be harmful to humans and pets.
  • Be patient: Getting rid of stink bugs can take time and effort. Combine different methods for best results.
  • Live and let live: If you see just a few stink bugs and they’re not causing any harm, you might consider letting them be. They play a role in the ecosystem after all!

By following these safe and effective tips, you can keep stink bugs at bay and enjoy a pest-free (or at least less-smelly) home. Remember, prevention is key, so start sealing up those entry points and let the fragrant deterrents work their magic!

Does hiring a pest control professional help reduce stink bugs?

Hiring a pest control professional can definitely help reduce stink bugs in your home and property. Here’s why:

Expertise and experience: Professionals have the know-how to identify the specific type of stink bug you’re dealing with and understand their behavior and entry points. This allows them to tailor a targeted treatment plan for maximum effectiveness.

Access to powerful tools and methods: Professionals have access to commercial-grade insecticides, traps, and other control methods that might not be readily available to the public. These can be more effective in eliminating larger infestations or reaching hidden breeding grounds.

Long-term prevention: They go beyond just immediate extermination and address the root causes of the problem. This might involve sealing entry points, recommending preventative measures, and offering follow-up services to prevent future infestations.

Peace of mind: Dealing with stink bugs can be frustrating and time-consuming. Hiring professionals takes the burden off you and gives you peace of mind knowing your home is in good hands.

Pest control professional treating for stink bugs

However, it’s important to consider some factors before making a decision:

Cost: Hiring professionals can be more expensive than DIY methods, so it’s essential to compare quotes from different companies and weigh the cost against the severity of your infestation and your time constraints.

Chemicals: Some pest control methods use insecticides that might raise concerns for you or your family. Discuss with the professionals about their approach and the safety of their methods, especially if you have pets or young children.

Overall, hiring a pest control professional can be a valuable option for effectively reducing stink bugs, especially for larger infestations or if you prefer a comprehensive and long-term solution. However, weigh the cost and potential downsides before making a decision.

Here are some additional tips for choosing a pest control professional:

  • Ask for recommendations from friends, family, or neighbors.
  • Check online reviews and ratings.
  • Make sure the company is licensed and insured.
  • Get quotes from multiple companies before making a decision.
  • Discuss the treatment plan and ask questions about the chemicals and methods they will use.

Would an annual pest control treatment help to prevent stink bugs from ever coming into my home?

While an annual pest control treatment can significantly reduce the likelihood of stink bugs entering your home, it may not completely prevent them from ever coming in. Here’s why:

Effectiveness: Most professional pest control treatments target a broad range of insects, including stink bugs. They often involve applying residual insecticides around entry points and potential hiding spots. This will significantly deter and eliminate a large portion of stink bugs trying to get in.

Persistence: The effectiveness of the treatment will depend on the specific product used and its residual duration. Some treatments may last for several months, while others might require more frequent applications. Even with effective residuals, new stink bugs can still emerge throughout the year and potentially find their way in through gaps or missed entry points.

Entry points: Stink bugs are clever little critters, and they can squeeze through surprisingly small openings. Sealing up all potential entry points like cracks, gaps around windows and doors, and even weep holes near foundations is crucial for long-term prevention. Even with annual treatments, if you don’t address entry points, stink bugs may still find their way in through missed cracks or newly formed ones.

Seasonal dynamics: Stink bug populations peak in fall as they search for warm wintering spots. This is when an annual treatment is most effective, providing a barrier before their peak entry period. However, it’s possible for smaller numbers to wander in throughout the year, especially if they find attractive food sources like fruits or vegetables near your home.

Overall, while an annual pest control treatment is a powerful tool for stink bug prevention, it’s crucial to manage expectations. It can drastically reduce their presence but may not guarantee complete absence, especially if you don’t address entry points and seasonal variations.

Here are some additional tips for maximizing stink bug prevention:

  • Combine annual treatments with proactive sealing of entry points.
  • Consider planting natural deterrents like mint, lavender, or chrysanthemums around your home.
  • Be vigilant during peak seasons, especially in fall, and check for potential entry points regularly.
  • If you see a few stink bugs inside, address them promptly using safe methods like vacuuming or soapy water.

By taking a multi-pronged approach, you can significantly reduce the risk of stink bugs invading your home and enjoy a more peaceful pest-free environment.

Do stink bugs actually smell bad?

Whether stink bugs actually smell bad depends on your perspective and your nose!


  • Stink bugs do emit a strong odor when they feel threatened or squished.
  • This odor comes from chemicals they produce in glands on their abdomen.
  • The chemical composition of the odor varies depending on the species, but it often contains compounds found in cilantro, coriander, burnt almonds, or even skunk spray.


  • Some people find the odor quite unpleasant and pungent.
  • Others describe it as spicy, herbaceous, or even nutty.
  • A few people can’t smell it at all! ‍♀️

So, there’s no definitive answer to whether stink bugs “actually” smell bad. It’s a matter of personal perception and olfactory sensitivity.

Here are some interesting facts about the stink bug odor:

  • The chemicals in the odor can act as a deterrent to predators, making it less likely that stink bugs will be eaten. ️
  • Some scientists are studying the stink bug odor for potential use in natural pesticides or pest repellents.
  • There’s even a stink bug emoji: (though it might not be the most pleasant emoji to use!).

Ultimately, whether you find stink bugs smelly or not, it’s important to remember that they’re just trying to defend themselves. If you encounter one, the best thing to do is to gently guide it outside or let it leave on its own. And who knows, maybe you’ll even appreciate the unique olfactory experience!

If a stink bug touches something does it need to be washed?

Whether you need to wash something that a stink bug has touched depends on several factors:

The object’s surface:

  • Porous surfaces: If the stink bug touched something porous like fabric, wood, or cardboard, the odor-producing chemicals might have absorbed into the material. Washing or cleaning with a disinfectant is recommended to remove the smell and potential bacteria.
  • Non-porous surfaces: Smooth surfaces like glass, metal, or plastic are less likely to absorb the odor. Wiping them down with a damp cloth or disinfectant should be sufficient.

Your sensitivity to the odor:

  • Strong aversion: If you find the stink bug odor particularly unpleasant, even a faint trace might bother you. In this case, even lightly touched non-porous surfaces might benefit from a wash or wipe-down for peace of mind.
  • Minimal sensitivity: If the odor doesn’t bother you much, simply wiping down non-porous surfaces might be enough.

Potential health concerns:

  • Stink bugs are not known to carry diseases harmful to humans. However, if you have concerns about bacteria or other contaminants on the object, washing or disinfecting might be prudent.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to wash something after a stink bug touches it is up to you. Consider the factors mentioned above and your own comfort level with the odor and potential contamination.

Here are some additional tips:

  • If you’re unsure about a specific object, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and wash or clean it.
  • Be gentle when handling delicate objects to avoid accidentally squishing the stink bug and releasing a stronger odor.
  • Open windows or doors while cleaning to let the odor out.

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