The stink bug is an insect in the family Pentatomidae, and is native to China Mainland. It was accidentally introduced into the United States in 1998. The stink bug is considered to be an agricultural pest.
The adults are approximately ⅝ inch long and the underside is white or pale tan, sometimes with gray or black markings. The legs are brown with faint white banding. The stink glands are located on the underside of the thorax, between the first and second pair of legs.
It is an agricultural pest that can cause widespread damage to fruit and vegetable crops. In Japan it is a pest to soybean and fruit crops. In the US, the stink bug feeds, beginning in late May or early June, on a wide range of fruits, vegetables, and other host plants including peaches, apples, green beans, soybeans, cherry, raspberries, and pears. It is a sucking insect, a “true bug”, that uses its proboscis to pierce the host plant in order to feed. This feeding results, in part, in the formation of small, necrotic areas on the outer surface of fruits but ranges from leaf stippling, cat-facing on tree fruits, seed loss, and transmission of plant pathogens.
The stink bug is more likely to invade homes in the fall than others in the family. The stink bug survives the winter as an adult by entering houses and structures when fall evenings start to turn cold. Adults can live for several years and look for buildings to overwinter in that shield them from the elements. They will work their way under siding, into soffits, around window and door frames, under roof shingles and into any crawl space or attic vent which has openings big enough to fit through. Once inside the house they will go into a state of hibernation where they wait for winter to pass, but often the warmth inside the house causes them to become active, especially in winter months, and they will fly clumsily around light fixtures.
The stinkbug’s ability to emit a vile odor through holes in its abdomen is a defense mechanism meant to prevent it from being eaten by birds and lizards. However, simply jostling the bug, cornering it, scaring or injuring it, or attempting to remove it from one’s house can “set it off”. Squashing it is a surefire way of expelling its noxious odor.
Spectrum’s service is designed to keep stink bugs from entering the home.