What Do Stink Bugs Eat?

Category: Insects.

Don’t ask me why, but I have always wondered if stink bugs actually stink. I mean, I know they must, otherwise why would they call them stink bugs? Unfortunately, I can’t use that reasoning, after all, a centipede means 100 legs, but a centipede may or may not have 100 legs and so that argument on whether stink bugs stink, well, does not have a leg (or six, or indeed even more) to stand on.

Yes, they stink

OK, it certainly does not matter, because I honestly know the answer. The answer is that stink bugs genuinely do stink, but only in a couple of scenarios:

  1. You squish the stink bug or
  2. You threaten the stink bug

I think in either case, the stink bug has the right to, well, be stinky about it, wouldn’t you agree?

Florida predatory stink bug (right) eating a brown marmorated stink bug (left). © John Flannery.

Now about the stink bug

They are curious little insects, but not particularly friendly at all. They originated in the far east, migrating from Japan, China, Taiwan and Korea. Somehow, they made their way over to the North American continent, where they predominately like to hang out on the East Coast. Actually come to think of it, I believe I have seen a stink bug or two during a couple of trips to New York.

Where can you find them?

Anyway, stink bugs make their habitat mainly in orchards, farms and gardens. They find someplace cool and damp to stay during the summertime, and then in the wintertime they will find the closest indoor dwelling they can find, and hibernate for the winter. Generally you will not see the stink bugs in the winter, but they will get into leave from their nests as soon as spring arrives.

A brown marmorated stink bug feeding on an apple. © Stephen Ausmus, USDA.

A stink bug’s diet

Since they mainly hang out in orchards, farms and gardens, they have plenty of access to their primary food source which is leaves, flowers, fruits and crops. They have a remarkable affinity for soybeans. Stink bugs will also eat spoiled fruit, such as apples or pears or other fruit that tend to drop from the trees. No matter the case, stink bugs don’t provide any tangible benefits to anyone, their existence essentially is simply to annoy and pester those who are infested.

They are a great stinker

Unfortunately, for those individuals who have been infested, such as homeowners whose wood built structures can’t keep out the menace, there is not much they can do about the stink. Once the stink bugs start to release their aroma, the only thing that can be done is to fumigate and hope that all of the bugs get exterminated.

How to avoid them?

The best thing that one can do is to make sure that there are no openings in a home which may have a wooden foundation or cracks leading into the home’s basement, cellar or other spaces. If you do happen to live in a stink bug infested area, it’s probably not a good idea to leave rotten apples lying around, or you too will get a case of the stink bug menace. Being hit by the stink bug is definitely something that you want to avoid.

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