Stink Bug Life Cycle

picture of stink bug

Typical Stink Bug Life Cycles

Different species of stink bugs generally share similar life cycles. Female adults that have mated with males in the spring deposit eggs in clusters, known as egg masses, on the stems and leaves of plants. Stink bugs develop via incomplete metamorphosis, a process that involves three stages – eggs, nymphs and adults.

Nymphs are wingless and complete five instars (stages) of growth and development. Each instar takes about one week to complete.

As they progress through their nymphal stages, they increase in size and eventually change into fully-grown winged adults capable of reproduction. Both nymphs and adults feed on plants and fruit.

Stink bug adults will continue to feed and reproduce during summer. Depending upon the species and where they live, the pests may create more than one generation per year (up to 400 eggs during their lifetime). Adult stink bugs tend to live between 6 – 8 months.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Life Cycle

Brown marmorated stink bugs (BMSBs) are an invasive species introduced to the United States from China. Since first reported in Pennsylvania in 2001, they’ve spread to around 41 States. These pests have become a serious problem of agricultural crops as well as a nuisance to home and business owners.

Mating

BMSBs mate and create up to 3 generations per year depending on their habitat. Cooler zones see one generation per year, while warmer areas are likely to see 2-3.

Eggs

Egg laying generally occurs from May through August. The eggs are light green, barrel-shaped, and are attached side-by-side on the underside of the host plant’s leaves in a mass of 20-30 eggs.

Nymphs

BMSB nymphs (second stage in the stink bug life cycle) emerge from their eggs after 4 – 5 days.

They are orange or red in color and remain clustered around the egg mass until they molt (shed their outer shell). They range in size from 2.4 mm (first instar) to 12 mm (fifth instar). As with all immature stink bugs, nymphs lack fully developed wings and have been described as being tick-like in appearance.

During the second instar, the nymphs develop an almost black appearance, and eventually acquire more of the adult BMSB coloration. Each nymphal instar lasts about one week and adults can begin reproducing as soon as two weeks after their final molt.

Controlling Infestation

In late Fall, adult stink bugs enter homes and other building interiors to seek shelter. Once they find a suitable entry point, they release a pheromone that attracts others to the site.

Ensuring that cracks, gaps, and other openings are sealed will help prevent these insects from entering your home, and continuing the stink bug life cycle. When populations get out of hand, contact Orkin for help with getting rid of stink bugs.