Stink Bugs

Facts, Identification & Control

Latin Name

Family Pentatomidae

This article focuses on the brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys).


picture of stink bug
What do they look like?

  • mouth – piercing sucking mouthparts
  • antennae – straight antennae with light brown bands
  • shape – characteristic shield shape.
  • length – 12 to 17 mm long
  • color – mottled brown color
  • wings – dark bands on the front wings

The immature bug, called a nymph, is yellow and red with red eyes. As it grows, the yellow lightens to off-white.

Behavior, Diet & Habits

What do they eat?

  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • apples
  • peaches
  • blackberries
  • tomatoes
  • corn
  • soybeans
  • lima beans
  • green peppers

On fruit
Like other stink bugs, this pest pierces the skin of the fruit in order to feed. After feeding, the insect leaves. As the fruit continues to grow, it often develops a scar that resembles the face of a cat.

Inside homes
Besides being an agricultural pest, the brown marmorated stink bug is often a pest in homes. In late summer, the adult bugs gather on homes. The bugs are seeking sheltered places to spend the winter.

The bugs move inside the home through cracks and other openings.

In walls
They spend the winter hiding inside the walls or in the attic or crawl space. When spring comes, the stink bugs become active. As they begin to move around, some of them emerge into the living space.

Inside the home, the bugs often gather on walls and windows seeking a way out. Homeowners are usually upset to find these bugs inside the home. Their size and unpleasant odor make them very unwelcome.


Females typically lay 20 to 30 eggs which she secures on the underside of the host plant in the summer. Eggs hatch four to five days later and the nymphs will begin to feed. They undergo a series of molts until they become adults by fall.

Signs of a Stink Bug Infestation

Large numbers
Homeowners often first detect stink bugs by their mass invasions in the fall.

Sunny walls
They turn up on sunny sides of homes where they warm themselves.

Growers often detect them by the damage they cause to their crops.

More Information

The brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) is native to Asia. It has been an agricultural pest in China, Japan and Korea.

It was first collected in the United States in 1998. It is now found in many parts of the country from Maine to Mississippi and from Oregon to Florida.


Seal cracks
Homeowners can discourage the brown marmorated stink bug from entering the home by sealing as many entryways as possible. Cracks around doors and windows can be sealed with caulk.

Vents in attics and crawl spaces can be protected with screen. Any torn or damaged window screens should also be repaired.

Weather stripping can help seal gaps under exterior doors.

Unfortunately, once stink bugs invade the voids of the home to overwinter, they can be difficult to remove. While overwintering, they do not feed or reproduce. However, they will become active again on a warm winter day or in the spring. When the spring arrives, they disperse from the home and will not return until the next fall.

If a homeowner is experiencing overwintering stink bugs, contact pest professionals who can select the most effective materials and determine the best course of actions to prevent a recurrence.

Treatment Methods

Stink bugs are serious agricultural pests that require specialized treatment procedures to help reduce crop and fruit damage. For homes and businesses, stink bug treatments generally focus on two species that are very bothersome: the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) and the kudzu bug. Both of these insects create troubles for home and business owners when the pests fly to structures looking for overwintering sites. Therefore, pest management professionals focus on treatment methods that will control the bugs or help prevent them from getting inside.

Exterior Treatments

  • In most situations, the best treatment for stink bugs is preventing them from getting inside to their overwintering sites. Your pest management professional will probably recommend sealing all cracks that are more than 1/8 inch wide, screening or repairing existing screens over roof vents, gable vents, windows and doors and installing door sweeps.
  • Chemical products can be applied around possible stink bug entry points. Based on your pest management professional’s inspection, initial application and reapplications of products may be required to treat other stink bugs that fly to the property and attempt to get inside.

Interior Treatments

  • If stink bugs get inside, vacuuming them can be an effective way to remove them for your home. Also, stink bug traps may be useful. Using chemical products inside is generally not recommended.

Do Stink Bugs Bite?

Do Stink Bugs Stink?

How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs

Sink Bug Traps

Stink Bugs and Cedar Spray

Stink Bugs and Citrus

Stink Bugs and Pets (Cats & Dogs)

Stink Bugs in the Garden

What Are Stink Bugs?

What Do Stink Bugs Eat?

What Does a Stink Bug Look Like?

Where Do Stink Bugs Live?