The stink bugs earned their name because they discharge an unpleasant odor to discourage predators. They also emit this odor when they get crushed. Stink bugs were originally found in eastern parts of Asia and found in the US for the first time in the late 1990s. There are an estimated 900 genera included in the main family of these stink bugs. They are from the Pentatomidea family, which is regarded as its super family. This again belongs to the sub-family of Heteroptera, which is a part of the Helipterum order in the world of insects. Today these stink bugs are found all over the world. Their usual habitats are fields, meadows, and gardens. You can find 250 species of stink bugs in North America alone. In addition to this, there are approximately 4700 species existing worldwide.
Effect of Stink Bugs on Gardeners
Because of their diet, these stink bugs are both, harmful and beneficial to plants and trees. Stink bugs feed on various insects, fruits and plants. Like most members of the Pentatomide family, they suck sap from the fruity areas of the plants. Therefore, they can cause considerable damage to the plants. Some species are even harmful to the foliage. In addition to these types, some are predators that eat other pests, like caterpillars, making themselves useful also.
Availability through the Year
These stink bugs are normally seen in gardens all throughout the year. They are most prominent during spring and summer when plants and trees are coming into full bloom. Green species of stink bugs create a single generation every year and the dusky and brown ones create 2 generations every year.
Stink Bugs Adaptations
One of the unique adaptations of these stink bugs is clearly given away by the name. The Pentatomide family, as described earlier, creates an evil smelling compound used for discouraging any predators. They have thoracic glands that produce the horrible odor. It is used both for attracting mates and to communicate impending danger to nearby stink bugs. This odor is also capable of suppressing harmful microorganisms, which may be a threat to the stink bugs.
How they Reproduce
Females of the various stink bugs species lay eggs around the bottom of branches and stems during summers. Here the larvae emerge. Then, after going through the pupae stage, they become adult stink bugs, having wings. Eggs may be laid from the middle of the spring through to the middle of the winter, depending on the surrounding temperature. These eggs hatch within 5 days to 3 weeks to begin the cycle of creating new stink bugs.
Solution to the Problem
You need to seal all the cracks in your house in order to keep the stink bugs away. You should also replace any damaged screens on windows and doors. If you find a stink bug in the house despite these precautions, pick it up with a vacuum cleaner and throw away the bag containing the bugs. If you find these bugs outside your house, just spray the affected area with an approved insecticide. You can also just pick up the stink bugs with your hands, especially in mornings, when they are at their slowest.